Leave the trauma to me, 2021

d 2’x w 2’x h 8′



Twenty years of watching my mother endure an abusive marriage sparked my research into the female self-sacrifice complex, which holds deep roots in traditional American culture. The self-sacrifice complex can take the form of staying in patterns of abusive relationships, performing extensive emotional labor for partners and family members, and depriving oneself to ensure the family’s needs are met first.

This sculpture was constructed from linear steel and stretched with one pair of extra-large nylon tights. The surface is finished with fiberglass resin. I wanted to challenge the limits of my material to cover as much surface area as possible, which resulted in holes and tears in the nylon and gapes in the resin finish. Through these surface wounds, the viewer can visually explore the interior. This sculpture is part of a body of work that explores the female self-sacrifice complex, which holds deep roots in the rural Midwest.

About the Artist – Abbi Ruppert

Abbi Loree Ruppert was born and raised in the rural community of Nokomis, Illinois. Ruppert’s sculptures combine a steel framework with an exterior skin stretched from feminine garments that explore a deeply embedded predisposition for self-sacrifice among women within our culture.

She is both a sculptor and a printmaker, where she works primarily in fabricated steel and relief processes. Ruppert exhibits work across the Midwest, recently showing at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, Foundry Art Centre in St. Louis, and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati.

In September 2019, Ruppert installed her public sculpture “Revival” on Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s campus. In 2020, she received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center and was featured in the January/February 2021 issue of Sculpture Magazine.

Ruppert currently lives and works in Edwardsville, Illinois. She graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in May 2021, and Ruppert will begin her Master of Fine Arts at West Virginia University in August 2021.

Website:  Abbi Ruppert