Claire Chambless

Barriers, So Heavy
plastic, polyurethane foam, epoxy resin, plaster, imitation pearls
180in. x 180in. x 67in. (15ft x 15ft x 5ft 7in)

Each artwork brings together separately developed narratives and chains of signification which collide and produce a multiplicity of meaning. In Barriers (So Heavy), I am grappling with how a person who has been made into an object can turn back into a subject. I am thinking about the body, boundaries and strategies of resistance. The narratives and signs I use relate specifically to gender, class and colonialism. Twisting and subverting the sign systems associated with my chosen objects and narratives is my way of proposing ways out of oppressive hegemonic structures and ideologies.  

Artist Statement

My work examines the production of subjectivity, specifically the fabrication of femininity and aggression. I work with objects or materials that carry strong social and political meaning such as pearls or police barricades - prioritizing their function as signs of physical and ideological containment, enclosure, or apparatus of support for the physical body and psychic self. I configure these objects and materials in ways that call into question their materiality by separating what they are as cultural objects from what they are made of. Many of my works create a set of precarious constraints, or impossible conditions for objects in relation to gravity. Employing a similar critical strategy to that of a rebus or visual puzzle, my works oscillate between the aesthetic and the cultural, making space for the viewer to imaginatively try out possible strategies of defiance, play and refusal. 


Claire Chambless is a Los Angeles-based sculptor whose practice encompasses object-making, photography and video. She received her MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts in 2020 and completed her undergraduate studies in 2012 at Davidson College in North Carolina. Her work has been shown in museums, galleries and public spaces, including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; Serious Projects, Los Angeles; TZ Projects, Los Angeles; La MaMa Gallery, New York, NY and M. David & Co., Brooklyn, NY. Claire currently lives and works between Los Angeles and Atlanta.

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