On Thursday, Feb. 6, Kean Galleries hosted an opening reception for the exhibit "Reconstruction" by artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney, at the Karl & Helen Burger Gallery in the Center for Academic Success(CAS).
Attendees were amazed by the colorful works that were made from re-purposed wood and debris scouted from sites of natural disasters, Hurricane Sandy being one of them.
Light refreshments were served as attendees had the opportunity to meet the artist behind the exhibit.
Laura Petrovich-Cheney has been nationally recognized, her works appearing in several national and international publications.
Petrovich-Cheney was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey.
When asked about the reasoning behind the exhibit's title, Petrovich-Cheney explained that she felt that she was grasping an understanding of catastrophic events again.
"I selected 'Reconstruction' as the title because I'm reconstructing my memory of Hurricane Sandy, which happened many years ago," said Petrovich-Cheney. "It's constantly in our imaginations, since natural disasters do not happen in just New Jersey or the United States, but globally, we're faced with them."
Petrovich-Cheney received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts and English Literature at Dickinson College, in addition to a Master's in Fashion Design from Drexel University and a Master's of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Moore College of Art and Design.
She was an arts educator in New Jersey for fifteen years, and now resides in Massachusetts while pursuing art full-time.
In 2015, Petrovich-Cheney was interviewed by the Weather Channel to discuss of a piece that linked her art to weather concerns.
Petrovich-Cheney has also received grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists, and been awarded with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture.
Throughout 2018, she managed to complete two artistic fellowships.
Petrovich-Cheney believes that nature is an incomprehensible force which is larger than humanity. She is tremendously passionate about social impact. Her work merges contemporary issues with traditional folk art practices.
"One of our primary needs in the world is shelter," Petrovich-Cheney said. "Once you lose shelter, you lose safety and identity. At times, the loss is overwhelming, which serves as a reminder to keep people safe in the face of these disasters."
Petrovich-Cheney feels that her exhibit will be such a reminder to the Kean Community, and create hope.
"Something really awful could be turned into something beautiful...by giving [lost or destroyed property] a second chance, and [by not giving up] hope if someone loses everything they have," she said.
"Reconstruction" will be on display until May 7, 2020 at the Karl & Helen Burger Gallery in the Center for Academic Success. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free for everyone.
Kean University Galleries has a diverse exhibition program that highlights cultural issues and is interdisciplinary. All programs are free, and are designed to create engagement and educate visitors through visual arts.
Kean Galleries believes that art is effective in building awareness for the issues in the world while providing solutions. For more information, they can be reached by phone at (908) 732-0392. Gallery Assistant Tiffany Case can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.