Summer Art Fridays: Laura Petrovich-Cheney
For this week’s partnership with ArtInfo, we’ve chosen the work of Laura Petrovich-Cheney, an art teacher, sculptor, and photographer whose work is inspired by salvaged materials and quilt designs. The piece above, “Barn Razing,” is inspired by her summers spent on the New Jersey shore — and composed of old barn wood, boat wood and picket fencing.
Describe your process.
I give value to objects that are normally ignored, stepped on, tossed aside, or washed up upon the shore as debris. I use motorized saws to create new relationships between colors and textures. The work investigates how I manage life’s ambiguities.
How does this piece relate to your memories of summer?
Living in the picket-fenced community of suburbia called New Jersey, it is a tradition to go the shore for the summer. My dad knew all the backroads to avoid the tourist traffic. The backroads are where the local Jersey farms are and we would always stop for fresh produce, and to see the cows and horses in their red barns. All the discarded wood that I use comes from the collective traditions of spending summers in New Jersey.
How did you end up making art?
Jacob Lawrence once said that all children use crayons and paint, and some stop, but he did not. I feel the same way. Ideas begin on walks in the woods or along the shore with my dog. However, the real inspiration comes from making plenty of mistakes in the studio and learning from them.
What do you try to capture in your work?
My photographs record the life that I live as a female visual artist. I try to be true to what I am passionate about and honor those passions — the daily, mundane routines; the growing and nurturing of my plants and animals; and taking care of the little speck of earth that I call home. I don’t have illusions that my work will save the world — I am too small and insignificant. Instead, I just keep doing what I love to do and sharing it with the world on platforms like Tumblr.
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