Chazan Gallery at Wheeler

Contemporary Art

Parallel Developments – Group exhibition
Suzanne Kammin, Barbara Owen, and Laura Petrovich-Cheney
November 17 – December 7, 2016

The Chazan Gallery at Wheeler is pleased to present Parallel Developments, a group exhibition of works by Suzanne Kammin, Barbara Owen, Laura Petrovich-Cheney, from November 17 to December 7, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Gallery Night, November 17, 2016 from 5:00-9:00 pm. The public is invited.

Suzanne Laura Kammin has worked as both an abstract and representational painter but has consistently been interested in the materiality of the painted surface. Kammin’s work investigates the two-dimensionality of the picture plane, playing with ways to represent and contradict deep and flat space using color, mark, texture and translucency.

In her paintings, Kammin explores ideas of home, belonging and connectedness. using the vernacular of 1970’s era design and electronica. Employing a variety of processes, Kammin juxtaposes hard edges with more gestural passages, creating works that are both sleek and forgiving. A mixture of the humane and technological, these abstract paintings can be read as blueprints of a longed-for utopian future.

In her recent paintings, Kammin balances various painted elements – line, shape, color – and uses additive and reductive painting techniques to create a sense of wholeness and harmony. Employing an array of tools and techniques, Kammin contrasts smooth, minimal shapes of pure color against distressed and improvisatory painted passages to create a sense of expansiveness, magic and mystery.

Suzanne was born in New York City and grew up in Manhattan and Toronto, Canada. She received her BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and studied painting abroad at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland while an undergraduate and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver at the graduate level. She is a two time recipient of a grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation and has had her paintings and drawings exhibited in galleries and art institutions both nationally and in Canada. She is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York City.

Suzanne has been a visiting artist at Pratt Institute and Roger Williams University and currently teaches painting, drawing and design and The Montclair Art Museum, Caldwell University and Parsons The New School for Design, where she has served as an assistant professor for over sixteen years. Suzanne is also the founder of Left Bank Studio School, a private art school that she runs out of her beautiful live/work space in Newark, NJ.


Barbara Owen is a painter but she seeks to work outside the confines of what a traditional painter does.

Throughout her career Owen has worked in series in order to explore how color, shape, material and paint itself develop and change one’s experience of each piece, while consistently exploring her subject matter. As a formalist, her work plays with space and the relationship between shapes. As a colorist, she is trying to create effective and emotional responses to the work. And when paint is applied to a flat surface (paper, canvas) and used to build shapes, the work can be a unique hybrid of painting and sculpture.

The development of the three-dimensional paper work comes from a recent decision to cut up the drawings and templates that Owen had previously used in the preparation of a painting. Her desire was to break free from painting and to explore making work that was unbounded by the dimensions of a traditional canvas support. This cutting up process has now become a free-form way of creating new imagery, reconfiguring her original concept to give it new meaning. It is made up of layers of paper, and there is an interesting contradiction between the flatness of paper and the three-dimensionality that the layering produces. What was once discarded has become the material in which Owen makes the work.

The process of finding her shapes and where they come from is also not arbitrary. Although the shapes are simply organic figures reminiscent of circles or flower petals or the shape of a face, they are significant to Owen in that after several years of painting abstractly she began to notice a repeating of shapes that she liked to make or that she found pleasing. Soon Owen started extracting or isolating these shapes from those layers of abstraction. They are present in her paintings and now in the works made from paper – they are just being used differently. In a way they emerged from abstract chaos to become highly organized and now have been abstracted again through process.

Barbara Owen graduated from Bennington College with a dual bachelor’s degree in sculpture and poetry. She wrote a creative thesis under the direction of the poet Ben Belitt and studied sculpture with Brower Hatcher and Lee Tribe, and painting with the painter and art critic Sidney Tillim. Her work is influenced and characterized by her study of sculpture, but she identifies as a painter. Her use of vibrant color, shape, and form is loaded with concepts about history, feminism, and painting.

Owen’s work has been featured at numerous venues, including the Minor Injury Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; The Arts Center, Troy, NY; Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI and UMass Dartmouth’s Art Gallery, New Bedford, MA. In 2016 two paintings were included in exhibitions with the Arts in Embassies (AIE) program, Paramaribo, Suriname and Ports Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Owen has participated in artist residency programs nationwide, including the MASS MoCA/Assets for Artists in 2015. She was also a featured artist in the NetWorks 2015 Artist Video Portraits series.

She lives in Wakefield, RI with her husband and son. Her studio is located in an old mill building in Pawtucket, RI.


Laura Petrovich-Cheney
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to coastal communities in fall 2012 was evident in the wooden debris that littered the affected communities in its wake. Floorboards, pieces of cabinets, and window frames were often all that remained of homes torn apart by the storm’s ferocity. It was after the storm that Laura Petrovich-Cheney began collecting the castaway wooden debris—remnants evocative of life before the storm.

L.aura Petrovich-Cheyne, Surge, 2014

Inspired by the geometry of American quilts whose simplicity belies their conceptual underpinnings, Petrovich-Cheney pieces together this salvaged wood into something meaningful and orderly. As both formal, abstract art objects and expressions of feminism, traditional American patchwork quilt designs are designs she finds familiar and comforting. Her wooden quilts evoke a past heritage of craftsmanship and labor as well as the American ideal of a pioneer woman’s can-do spirit and instinct for survival.

Petrovich-Cheney’s source materials—the wood of domestic spaces—has not been altered; she uses the wooden debris as she has found it. The textures and faded colors of this wood suggest another life. The history of the salvaged wood is told through its chipped layers of paint, its nail holes, and grain. By using recurrent patterns, Petrovich-Cheney explores ideas that are rooted in the repetition of life—birth, growth, death, and regeneration. She is a sculptor whose work mirrors the human experience, so full of transformation, second chances, reinvention, and resilience.

Laura Petrovich-Cheney was born in Philadelphia in 1967 and was raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She currently resides in Asbury Park, NJ. She earned her BA in Fine Arts and English Literature at Dickinson College, an MS degree in Fashion Design from Drexel University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with an MFA in Studio Arts from Moore College of Art and Design.

Her works are in several public collections, including the new PNC Tower (Pittsburgh, PA), Temple University Hospital (Philadelphia, PA), MD Anderson Cooper Hospital Cancer Care Center (Camden, NJ), The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (Jersey City, NJ) and the James A Michener Museum (Doylestown, PA).

Additionally, her work has been exhibited nationally including solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. Past exhibition venues include A.I.R. Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington, DE), James Michener Museum (Doylestown, PA), Gallery at 14 Maple, Morris Arts, (Morrisville, NJ) and City Hall Art Gallery (Philadelphia, PA). She is a Signature Artist at Noyes Museum (Oceanville, NJ), a New York Artist Member of A.I.R. Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), and an active member of the New York Sculptors Guild (Brooklyn, NY).

During the summer and fall of 2016, Petrovich-Cheney is collaborating with Monmouth Arts, U.S. National Park Service, Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit, NJ on Gateway to the Arts and Clean Ocean Action to engage the public in their local national park through a public art project. This project was funded in part National Endowment for the Arts, the Ocean First Foundation, and the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

She was awarded a residency grant to the Vermont Studio Center in 2015. In 2013, she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for a residency to The Arctic Circle. She received grants from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Barbara Deming Foundation for Women in the Arts, The Clark Huling Arts Fund for Visual Artists and awards from the National Art Education Association, the Council for Art Education, National Academy of Art and the New Jersey State Department of Education. Since 2009, she has maintained a blog on her art practice and writes reviews of art exhibits in the tri-state area. When she is not teaching or making art, Petrovich-Cheney maintains several native flower gardens and a small orchard that sustains her and her husband’s colonies of honeybees.

For further information please contact Elena Lledó at


Chazan Gallery at Wheeler

228 Angell Street
Providence, RI
(401) 421-9230
Tuesday – Saturday, 11AM – 4PM
Sunday, 2PM – 4PM
The gallery is closed on Mondays.
There is no admission charge.


Exhibitions: The gallery is open to all area artists working in any medium. A “call for submissions” is sent out every other Fall and regular exhibitions are juried by a panel that awards five to six shows each year. The jury includes local artists, curators and art educators and its composition changes each year. Special curated exhibitions are also scheduled and are fully funded by the Chazan Gallery.

  • chazan_Lucky_Leone - 14
    chazan_Lucky_Leone - 14
  • chazan_Lucky_Leone 7
    chazan_Lucky_Leone 7
  • Ben Watkins, "Bookended" - gold leaf on hydrocal. 11" x 23"
    Gallery Night Providence
  • chazan_Watkins_Timeline
  • Daniel Bohman, "Glass Ceiling"
    chazan_daniel_bohman_Glass Ceiling
  • October 15, Daniel Bohman exhibits at the Chazan Gallery.
    Gallery Night Providence
  • Chazan Gallery at Wheeler : interior
    Chazan Gallery at Wheeler : interior
  • Chazan Gallery
    Chazan Gallery
  • Chazan Gallery
    Chazan Gallery
  • Chazan Gallery
    Chazan Gallery
  • 'Chasing Trains' - Bradley Fesmire
    'Chasing Trains' - Bradley Fesmire

About the Gallery

A nonprofit artists’ space, the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler presents five jury-selected exhibitions each season comprising a wide range of contemporary work in exhibitions by artists living or working in the greater Providence area. Located on the East Side of Providence near Brown University and RISD, the gallery is on the campus of Wheeler School. Totally supported by Wheeler School, the gallery is a gift to the Providence Arts Community from the school.

Providence is a city with a very large community of artists, and the gallery provides an excellent space for these artists to exhibit their work. Through an open jury process, the gallery shows work from among the strongest artists in the area in a series of varied and interesting exhibitions each year. Bill Van Siclen, the Providence Journal’s Art Editor, has called the gallery, “a model of quality and consistency. The artists have been among the best the state has to offer.”

The present gallery was completed as part of the school’s new library building in 1990. Elizabeth Kilduff is the current gallery director, assuming this post in June 2013. Sue Carroll was the gallery director from 1990 to May 2013. Prior to 1990 a smaller gallery was housed in a building on the same site; Gertrude Pardee was its director since its founding in 1969.

The Wheeler School was founded in 1889 by Mary C. Wheeler, an American Impressionist painter. The gallery has always been an important teaching resource for the school and an extension of its strong art program. Students view the exhibitions, write about the shows and have the opportunity to meet the artists during gallery talks. The exhibitions are an integral part of the School’s art curriculum and are also well attended by classes from RISD, Brown, and RIC, as well as the larger arts community in the Providence area.


The Wheeler School Mission Statement

Founded in 1889, The Wheeler School is an independent day school for girls and boys from Nursery through Grade Twelve in Providence, Rhode Island. Central to the School’s philosophy is the assumption that all of us, students and teachers alike, can and should contribute to and draw from the extraordinary energy and vitality which is characteristic of this community. Although preparation for college is a primary goal of the Upper School, our program in all divisions is intended to be both academically rigorous and developmentally appropriate. Most importantly, we believe that all those who participate in the Wheeler experience will recognize, celebrate and respect:

Individuality — Each member of the Wheeler community is unique as a learner and as a person. We understand that the human mind is capable of thinking and creating in many different ways, and our multi-faceted curriculum encourages each student to explore his or her strengths and weaknesses in the context of a supportive environment.

Commonality — We use cooperative experiences in order to build a spirit of community, an acceptance of cultural responsibility, and an awareness of the role of the collaborative effort in human interaction. Our goal is to build relationships based on appreciation and trust.

Opportunity — Our program is designed to offer flexibility and choice through its exceptional richness of offerings. We continually seek to find a balance between what is required or expected and what is possible beyond these limits.

Awareness — We have much to learn about the cultures that comprise our community and our world. To value different ethnic, racial, religious and socioeconomic perspectives is to promote concern and respect for each other and for the earth and to encourage an involvement in a world beyond self and school.

The School believes in the importance of high expectations and standards. At the same time, we recognize that academic, artistic, social and physical development are the results of a process which allows each individual to identify and draw upon his or her own resources. Our hope and expectation is that at Wheeler each student will have learned to solve problems, to express himself or herself creatively, to engage confidently in new activities and to communicate effectively and sensitively with others.


• November 1, 2016

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