Abigail Hedley is an MFA student in Sculpture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Abigail HedleyAbigail Hedley is a sculptor and public art fabricator out of the Midwest. While working towards their BFA from the University of Northern Iowa, Abigail worked as a metal fabricator for over 5 years creating large scale public art pieces for various artists across the country. Upon graduation Abigail worked for the University of Northern Iowa, conserving their public art collection located on UNI’s campus. Conserving pieces by Dennis Oppenheim, Fletcher Benton, Janet Lofquist, Walter Dusenbery, Cork Marcheschi and more.
Abigail has permanent public art pieces located in Cedar Falls and Dubuque, Iowa and just finished their 2020-21 artist-in-residency at the Hearst Center’s ‘Red House’ studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Within Abigail’s most recent work the focus has shifted from large metal objects to softer more intimate pieces, and the clash between the two varying material and media processing.
As an artist, I’ve been compelled to create visual narratives focused around expressing the effects of trauma and how pre-existing social structures and power dynamics within society inhibit and dictate the conversations surrounding trauma, also expanding off this is how communities process and share trauma and grief. Through this exploration I’ve experimented in various media ranging from metal to fibers and from fine art to craft. Equipping myself with various tools to communicate these narratives. In my current work I’ve been utilizing familiar forms that are symbols of my upbringing and daily life that hold minimal sentiment or value. Commonplace objects that are recognizable to the viewer are now distorted and rendered in a softer, more forgiving media. This media requires a more intimate, hands-on, and time consuming process in order to render the initial object’s form. The repetitive and somewhat ritualistic act of needle felting wool allowed me time to personalize and personify the once benign object, learning its inherent traits. By distorting these qualities I begin to project human narratives and experiences of trauma, forcing once passive objects to hold complex emotional narratives, rendering them as artifacts or evidence of an event.