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EXcess Femme at the Mandarin Oriental

  • Mandarin Oriental 3376 Peachtree Road Northeast Atlanta, GA, 30326 United States (map)

Bill Lowe Gallery presents “EXcess Femme”, an immersive site-specific installation featuring the work of Atlanta multidisciplinary artist Claire Chambless. Claire Chambless is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work can be best described as Neo-Baroque. She is known for her use of texture, gold and unconventional materials in exploring concepts of female identity, excess, sexuality, and overstimulation in the digital age. She is a conceptual artist, who creates works in a range of mediums: painting, collage, wall sculpture, installation and performance art - whatever best expresses the content in a particular series. She has lived and worked between New York City and Atlanta for the past five years and currently maintains a studio in Atlanta.


My work explores the psychology of material and process, specifically psycho-sexual associations. I have a fascination with discarded household objects like broken honeycomb blinds, soiled satin bedsheets, pleather, discarded elements of my body: hair, nail clippings, skin, vaginal fluids, semen -  materials that carry subconscious associations of feminine sexuality and anatomy. Their origins are important - where they come from and what prior story they bring to the piece - as they allow me to reclaim, recontextualize and personify material culture by juxtaposing these elements of it with powerful, theatrical objects, and infusing them with new meaning.

The processes I employ in creating the work become powerful metaphors for my narrative. The repetitive motion of my body’s movements, the history of the process and the associations I make with the action are significant. Sewing by hand allows me to form rituals around the acts of stitching metallic thread and my own hair through the fabric blinds that I mold into fans, and the satin cloth and paper I use. Aligning myself with the womanly art of sewing is pleasurable and poignant. The act of threading the needle and thrusting it in and out of the difficult to penetrate, multi-layered fabric can have a highly sexualized, masculine and aggressive feel. The repetitive, at times compulsive, even desperate, motion of pushing and pulling becomes an acknowledgement of power.

As I work, my mind creates imaginative narratives based on subconscious associations to materials and the ways they must be manipulated. I create Formalist works in which material and process carry content and explore questions: At what personal cost does a woman yield – or wield - her sexual power to achieve her goals in a patriarchal society that often values physical beauty over character and intellect? And how does coming of age in a society such as ours affect the way we, as women, form our identity?

As you move through the exhibition at the Mandarin Oriental, the artworks slowly deconstruct and evolve from works on panel to installations that grow organically across the walls. The exhibition culminates with an immersive environment in the Taipen Lounge, where multiple assemblages cover the ceilings and walls of the entire multi-room space.  I’m excited about this opportunity to explore further the space between sculpture, painting and installation by adding sound, touch, light and smell and taste to the viewing experience. My vision is to create a Yatesean hyper-pleasure dome across all the senses to draw the viewer or “receiver” into his/her own world of psychological associations beyond those I’ve made for myself. I want to offer a rich multi-sensory experience that becomes at once performative and interactive, which I believe amplifies the art experience by closing the gap between life and art.

Earlier Event: March 1
Herb Creecy: A Legend Rediscovered