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barbara claussen

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artist statement

My work raises questions, creates a dialogue, and explores unusual and sometimes humorous solutions to challenges that arise at the intersection of public and private space. I am intrigued by the changes that have blurred the boundaries between public and private even as I observe the conflicts that arise as a result of technological and sociological shifts.

My installations investigate issues related to land use, law, history, and contemporary life. I am drawn to controversies that arise at the place where oppositional views meet. My research includes conducting personal interviews and culling information from law libraries, newspaper archives, historical societies, and county property records. The work takes on a variety of forms, ranging from small scale models displayed in vitrines to newsstands installed on a 49 acre island. I involve other people in the piece: asking them to raise questions, silkscreen text, generate ideas to solve border disputes, or stretch surveyor’s tape across a field to define property lines. The temporal and sometimes clandestine nature of the work reflects shifting boundaries.

The interplay of tragedy and comedy runs as a thread throughout my pieces. Situations that I investigate represent conflict, struggle and loss. Interjecting traces of subversive humor can empower and heal, reflecting Byron’s words, “And if I laugh at any mortal thing ‘tis that I may not weep.”