Memory & Material

Memory & Material

Memory & Material: Wood Quilts by Laura Petrovich Cheney

Laura Petrovich-Cheney processes events that wear down spirits and materials. Like the passage of time itself, natural disasters remind us of our vulnerability and the inevitability of loss. Petrovich-Cheney crystallizes and commemorates the collective trauma of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, and the fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In the aftermath of upheaval, she collects wooden debris: two-by-fours, strips of molding and trim, bits and pieces of boards that were once boxes or signs for family businesses, familiar brands, local institutions. These remnants remind us of place and time—home and neighborhood, before and after.

Working within the quilt idiom, Petrovich-Cheney creates colorblock jigsaws of rectangles and triangles. Trained as a sculptor, she transforms scraps of wood into luminous, quilt-like constructions that belie the opacity and crudeness of their material. Her work conjures stained glass windows, lattices, and chinks in walls—scrims that afford deep views beyond themselves. Some pieces are vortices that draw us in, while others keep their colorful contents a secret, like the shuttered windows of summer buildings. These wood “quilts” are rigid but wavy, with blocks of uneven height and surfaces in various states of distress. They remind us of textiles’ potential for monumentality, while demonstrating the intimacy of the most prosaic of building materials.

-Lydia Neuman, IQSCM Head of Exhibitions

About the Artist

About the Artist
About the Artist

Trained as a sculptor, Laura Petrovich-Cheney collects debris in the aftermath of tragedy. Wood from disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is salvaged and repurposed into luminous, quilt-like constructions that belie the opacity and crudeness of their material. Petrovich-Cheney’s work is in numerous public and private collections, and she was recently awarded a 2017 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Related Events

Related Events
Related Events

Laura Petrovich-Cheney will offer gallery talks during our public tours on:

  • Friday, October 12, 2018 at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 1 p.m.

She will also give a presentation on Thursday, October 11 at 5:30 p.m. (doors at 5 p.m.) and a workshop on Saturday, October 13. 

If you follow us on Facebook, be sure to tune in on Friday, October 12 for a live Q&A with the artist! Please feel free to send your questions to [email protected]

Event Date
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 to Saturday, December 15, 2018