Untitled Sculpture, 2010
cedar shingles, Dimensions Variable
Indebted to the tradition of formal sculpture, Abraham McNally’s work uses simple materials such as firewood and hay bails to create abstracted sculptures, which actually stem from a more personal source. The son of ‘back-to the-land’ hippies, McNally grew up in rural northern Vermont. It was a culture filled with the 1960s hope of rejecting American suburban conformity, consumerism and abundance. However, the community was unable to sustain a life with its own hands. In reality, splitting wood, milking a cow, or identifying what a potato plant looks like, proved difficult for the sons and daughters of suburban affluence. A return to the comforts and realities of American society was inevitable.The raw materials and simple collection in McNally’s sculptures are signifiers of the artist’s own heritage. For example, the firewood harvested and burned to keep his family warm, the bricks used to build chimneys, and the hay grown and bailed by McNally’s parents and fed to cows and goats.