Goodnight, Shut Up

Exhibition Photo of Goodnight, Shut Up by Sophia and Abbi Ruppert

by Sophia and Abbi Ruppert

On Display October 4th – 28th

Sophia Ruppet's Artwork
Sophia Ruppet’s work Nokomis Fragments

About the Art

Sophia and Abbi Ruppert are sisters and artists who create works about their upbringing in rural Midwestern poverty amid generational mental illness. Having shared a bedroom for eighteen years, they are bonded by shared family trauma. Sophia and Abbi share an interest in using worn and discarded found objects that are reminiscent of their upbringing. When shown together, their work is uniquely narrative of two closely adjacent lives.

Sophia’s work turns to found object manipulation and installation to investigate the mental and physical residue of her personal history. Hoping to create beauty in spite of trauma, her goal is to calm dissonant memories, reclaim charming moments, and share the resulting narrative. Abbi ​sees a correlation between her fascination with old domestic items and generational trauma. She has a particular interest in old light fixtures for their associations to family life and relationships.

In childhood, Sophia and Abbi shared a bunk bed, which ​felt like a refuge from their chaotic house and family quarrels. Nestled in their beds, they would talk for hours before sleeping. Eventually, they began to tell each other “Goodnight, Shut Up,” as an agreement to stop talking and a lovingly sarcastic farewell before slumber. It has been over a decade since they shared that bunk bed, but they still return to that phrase now and again. In a way, it has become a reference to their shared experience and a thankful reminder that they don’t have to process their trauma alone.

photo of the artists in a welding shop
Abbi (left) and Sophia (right) Ruppet

About the Artists

Sisters Sophia and Abbi Ruppert grew up together in rural Illinois among a family of six. They spent their childhoods exploring an abandoned rock quarry where they climbed cottonwood trees, picked mulberries, and got bit by mosquitos. Both Sophia and Abbi moved away from their hometown to study sculpture, but their work is still influenced by their childhood experiences.

Sophia earned an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums including Seattle, New York, and London. In 2020, Sophia received the Mayor’s Art Award from the Kimmel Foundation for the arts in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Gilbert Bayes Award from the Royal Society of Sculptors in London. Her international publications include “The Boomer Gallery” (UK), “Bluebee” Volume 6 (UK), and “Contrastes de Forma” (Brazil). Her recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Norfolk Arts Center in Nebraska and the Fiberart International 2022 exhibition in Pittsburgh. Sophia now lives in Troy, Illinois and recently earned her private pilot certificate and is working toward advanced aircraft endorsements.

Abbi earned her BFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at West Virginia University, where she also teaches 3D foundations courses. Abbi received the 2020 Outstanding Student Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center, which included a feature in Sculpture Magazine. In 2021, Abbi displayed a public sculpture, titled Leave the trauma to me, at Clear Lake Arts Center’s own Sculpture Garden. Another large-scale sculpture by Abbi titled Revival, won both Second Place and the People’s Choice award in the 2021-22 Art in Public Places sculpture exhibition in Knoxville, TN, and is now on display at Scovill Sculpture Park in Decatur, IL. Abbi has also recently exhibited at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, the Mitchel Museum at Cedarhurst in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and created an immersive installation for Rooms to Let: CLE, in Slavic Village, Cleveland. When Abbi is not driving cross country to install work, teaching classes, or making more art, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her senior cat at home.

Artist Talk & Sneak Preview on October 3 at 6pm