Galen Cheney

Born – Northridge, California, works and lives in North Adams, Massachusetts.
1990 – MFA Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art
1984 – BA cum laude, Mount Holyoke College
1982-83 – University of Florence Italy, Smith College Abroad

The artist from her studio in North Adams, MA, talks about the process of art making


GALEN CHENEY was born in Northridge, California, though has lived most of her life in New England where her ancestors first arrived from England in 1620. She currently lives and works in North Adams, Massachusetts and has been a committed abstract painter since she began her MFA program at MICA in Baltimore in 1988. Combining the intuitive methods of Abstract Expressionism with an eye toward contemporary collage, textile art, and graffiti, Cheney’s richly layered, constructed paintings are fresh and current.

Though entirely abstract, her paintings pulse with a contemporary energy. Their imagery and textures evoke a range of urban sensibilities, from glass high rises to gritty sidewalks. Her current work can be traced back to a pivotal experience she had in China during a three-month residency in 2015, when she began exploring the ideas and methods of collage in earnest. A profound feeling of dislocation and otherness fueled a potent studio practice, where the spoken word fell away and her visual language was the ultimate currency.

Though object-like and very much hand made using traditional and non-traditional materials, Cheney’s paintings evoke a clear sense of the spiritual, of something beyond our collective understanding, functioning at a deeper level. It is this quality that allows the work to reach out and cross manmade boundaries and borders.

1990 – MFA Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art
1984 – BA cum laude, Mount Holyoke College
1982-83 – University of Florence Italy, Smith College Abroad

Galen Cheney’s works are in museums and private collections in U.S.A., Canada, Europe and China.

Solo Exhibitions (selected)
2019 – “Mining Memory” Realeyes Gallery, North Adam, MA
2018 – Khawam Gallery, Artexpo Fair New York, NY
2015 – The Painting Center, New York, NY, Da Wang Culture Highland, Shenzhen, China
2013 – Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, Vermont Burlington International Airport, Burlington, Vermont
2010 – Julian Scott Memorial Gallery, Johnson State College, Topnotch at Stowe Resort, Stowe, Vermont
2008 – West Branch Gallery, Stowe, Vermont, The Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut
2005 – Supreme Court of Vermont, AVA Gallery, Lebanon, NH, Galerie 1225, Montreal
2000 – Omni Gallery, Portland, Oregon

Group Exhibitions (selected)
2019 – Southern Vermont Art Center, VA
2017 – SITE: Brooklyn, New York, NY, Cosmo_logic, Wynwood, Miami, Florida
2016 – The Fleming Museum, The Painting Center, NYC, Greenville Center for the Arts, Greenville, SC. 2015 – Central Booking, NYC, IDEA Museum, Mesa, AZ, Kent Museum, Calais, VT.

Residences and Awards (selected)
2015 – Fellowship Award, Da Wang Culture Highland, Shenzhen, China
2014 – Fellowship, Millay Colony
2013 – Nomination, Joan Mitchell Foundation award for painting
2012 – Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center
2007 – Artist’s Resource Trust Award, Berkshire Taconic Foundation
1998 – Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, Fellowship, Provincetown Fine Arts Center

2018 – Gritty Beauty, Art Spiel, by Etty Yaniv (March,1/19)
2016 – Fresco Street Arts. Kolaj Magazine. Art New England, Mud Season Review.
2013 – Art New England (May/June). Whitefish Review, Vol. 6, Issue 1.

Online Publications
Mutantspace, Artist a Day, Abstract Art, Artsy Forager, Pattern Pulp, The Periphery, Art Blog Daily, Contemporary Abstraction, Design Milk, Mockingbird, Amy Parry Projects.

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