"Chehalis Hegner creates mesmerizing combustible windows through which longings, legends, fabulous and slightly ominous possibilities, peek their heads and wink."
~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet
©2021. Dominic Chavez
As an artist, improvisation has always been my guiding light and depth of engagement is everything ~ whether fleeting or enduring, it allows me to establish genuine connections with my subjects and create art that reflects the authenticity of those bonds.
Making art is as much a physical experience as it is intellectual and creative. I’ve come to embrace the idea that there are positive aspects to even the worst things that can happen to us. In my case, becoming legally blind in my left eye was a difficult challenge, but it ultimately led to me to the unexpected gift of having an unrestricted vision for my work and life.
Initially, vision loss motivated me to turn to photography as my medium of choice, but my work has since evolved far beyond that initial inspiration. Blindness served as a kind of crowbar, breaking down the limitations I had placed on myself, leading me to my true passion: experiencing life and expressing the complexities of human emotions and connections through my art.
Today, my inspiration is not about blindness, but about the creative journey that was sparked by that transformative experience.
Through July 2023, Chehalis will have a work on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Hokusai, Inspiration and Influence. She was awarded in two categories in the 2020 and 2018 Julia Margaret Cameron Awards. In 2010 she received the Gjion Mili Photography Prize (Kosovo.) She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the US and Europe including: The Griffin Museum (MA), Turn Park Art Space Museum & Sculpture Park (MA), The Photographic Resource Center (Boston, MA), The Art Institute of Boston, Maryland Art Place (Baltimore), St. Gauden’s National Historic Site (Cornish, NH), The Cultural Center (Varigotti, Italy), Perspective Gallery (Evanston, IL), Interlochen Arts Academy (MI), the MIT Museum (Cambridge, MA) The Rey Center (Waterville Valley, NH), University of Massachusetts (Lowell), University of Texas (Austin), Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME) and the National Gallery of Art in Kosovo. In 2005 Hegner received her MFA in Photography at Lesley University's College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Recent publications include solo features in Fotonostrum Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, Shadow and Light Magazine, and Tangram's Going Into Wonder Issue, photographs on the creative process and kinetic sculptures of Arthur Ganson.
Chehalis served as a faculty member within the Department of Art and Design at The University of Massachusetts until 2015. She is currently a full-time artist and co-founder of Halo Hill, a startup near Chicago whose mission is to foster arts programming and the environment.
Hegner serves on jury panels, is a private photography mentor, teaches photo workshops, is a member of ASMP and was a member of SPE while on the faculty at UMass. She served on the board of directors at The Photographic Resource Center at Boston University where she her efforts focused on strategic planning, development, and programming.