Spurring Curiosity, Vignettes opens at the Visual Arts Gallery


Photographs courtesy of Alex Johnson

Artist Claire Hedden poses with tow of her many sculptures at her Vignettes opening in the Visual Arts Gallery. The primary material for Hedden's sculptures is clay. She also incorporates other materials, such as fabric, cardboard, and foam into her work.


There is a new exhibit in the Visual Arts Gallery in the Health and Science Building on campus entitled Vignettes. Claire Hedden, a Pennsylvanian ceramic artist, is the woman behind the show. This exhibition is the season’s opener and will be followed by several shows throughout the year.

“This is my first art exhibit at UIS and the atmosphere is calm and inviting,” said Jasmine McCallister, a junior at UIS.

Each of Hedden’s sculptures was ceramic, three-dimensional and resembled either an animal or person, depending on a person’s perspective. “When I look at my pieces I think of humans. It’s a being whether human or not.” Hedden says. Nine of Hedden’s pieces circled the room and each one told a different story from every angle of the work.

“They are very interestingly crafted. I noticed none of them have heads. They remind me of different animals and each one is in a position that is not upright.” McCallister said.

A close up of a Hedden sculpture featured at the gallery called Old and Restless.

The sculptures gave off different images and emotions to many who came to view. Some art pieces sent viewers minds on a journey of conversation of happiness and also imagination.

“When I first walked in, it was kind of off putting. But when I got the work information sheet that gives you the titles of the art pieces it helps to blend the title and the names together. The titles give the art direction,” Nick Davis, a senior Visual Arts major said.

Despite the different views of the audience Hedden’s main goal for her art pieces truly got a across.

“I didn’t want my art piece to have a defined identity or to have people come up and say ‘ Hey, that’s a horse, or dog’ I wanted it to spur curiosity and people to get a different reading depending on what side they view it. The pieces tell their own story and it’s a short story of what happened to me, how I was feeling and also what I was doing that day,” Hedden said.

Walking around and listening to different opinions, a lot of people had the same idea. There was no way of telling the beginning from the end but it was very pleasant and interesting to look at.  Hedden’s title made a huge impact on the way people interacted with her work. Vignettes are defined as pleasant pieces of art Hedden’s tried to capture that.

Whether it is her studio at home, her website clairehedden.weebly.com, or Facebook, any viewer can take a look at Hedden’s work.

“I hope my exhibit at UIS creates an atmosphere of wonder with curiosity. My work comes from a place in me from curiosity. I play around with it and this is what makes sense to me.”