Galen Cheney's previous work is grounded in the history of abstract expressionism, while sampling graffiti and ephemeral materials that are the skin of urban landscapes. Her brightly textured images reveal layers of history, like the architectural remnants of urban environments. The density of the paintings create a sense of congestion or population with a movement that vacillates between fast and slow, aggressive and gentle. The process evokes gestural abstraction or action painting, but with a conscious vision, an inspiration, and an emotional intensity. Cheney describes her process as "a controlled demolition" that creates "great tension before the fuse is lit, but tremendous release and sense of possibility once the dust clears." She literally builds and scrapes away multiple surfaces before her paintings arrive at a completed state, usually working on several canvases simultaneously.
Cheney's new work in this exhibition is at the intersection of built and natural environments. Structured and organic shapes intermingle rather than collide as if both elements are alive in a symbiotic relationship. Organic forms literally creep into the urban landscapes like earthworms eating their way through to create new paths. This combination integrates Cheney's interest in urban architecture, archeology, ancient ruins – here and in Italy, where she studied briefly – with her natural surroundings in Vermont, exploring how these two environments coexist through the platform of painting.
Galen Cheney lives and works in Middlesex, Vermont. She's earned her MFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and her BA from Mount Holyoke College. She's the recipient of several Full Fellowship Residencies at Vermont Studio Center and awards from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, Open Studios Press, and the Alliance of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibitibed nationally at such places as the Saint-Gaudens Memorial National Historic Site (NH), The Painting Center (NYC), the BCA (Vermont), West Branch Gallery (Vermont), AVA Gallery (NH), the Supreme Court of Vermont, and internationally at Galerie 1225 in Montreal.
Curated by Rachel Moore
Exhibition dates: January 18 - February 24, 2013