Internal Combustion: Galen Cheney '80
May 1 to June 2, 2008
Galen Cheney received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute of Art. She studied art history and theory at the University of Florence in Italy and has completed three fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson. Her work has been seen at the Libreria Il Drago in Florence, Italy; the Red Mill Gallery at the Vermont Studio Center; the Omni Gallery in Portland, Oregon; and the Decker Gallery in Baltimore. In 2005, Cheney exhibited her “Plant Life” series and other work at the Vermont Supreme Court.
She is currently represented by Galerie 1225 in Montreal and by the West Branch Gallery in Stowe, Vermont.
My current work addresses the deeply troubling state of the world, particularly the ongoing devastation in Iraq. In my work I grapple with feelings of complicity in this war as a citizen of the United States. The paintings may not appear outwardly political, however, I intend for them to convey the solemn power, sadness, and feelings of isolation and dislocation that are the horror of war.
"The paintings are deeply layered, textured, and in many cases, take months to complete. In order to achieve varied surfaces, I have employed unusual materials, such as asphalt and aluminum, which have unique and unyielding properties that I have learned to respect in my attempts to transform them. I have narrowed down the palette for these pieces, yet within that limited palette, a richness and depth of color has still been possible
"It is my aim to make paintings that are moving in the way poems are moving. You keep coming back to them, sit with them, meditate over them. You become more of yourself, experience some aspect of life in a new way, transformed. Indeed, many of the titles are snippets of poems I admire, many from Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was a vocal opponent of the wars of her time.