Wright Cheney’s piece, entitled Widow, is a life-sized statue of a bear, made of handcrafted and dyed felted roses.
“Widow is about survival and strength after loss,” says Wright Cheney. “I came up with the idea for Widow after seeing a dead bear on the side of the highway. It looked like it was sleeping and I wondered, ‘Who mourns for this bear?’ So Widow was created.”
Wright Cheney created the work in her living room, sewing and dying the roses by hand. She used natural dyes to create a variety of reds and violets.
“The colours created are a bit in line with Victorian traditions around mourning, where people wore certain colours to display their grief,” explains Wright Cheney.
“Traditionally, following an extensive period of wearing just black, widows would then wear purple of violet during their stage of grief.”
Wright Cheney has been a practicing artist since graduating from Mount Allison, with her work being shown at galleries nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards for her work including the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Arts in 2013. She currently teaches at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Curated by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), Oh, Canada features over 100 works from 61 artists and is on display at four galleries in the Maritimes, including the Owens.
Widow and Oh, Canada are on exhibit at the Owens Art Gallery until September 21. See more of Janice Wright Cheney’s work on her website – http://www.janicewrightcheney.com/