Charles Harris Library Gallery
exhibitions ClaireRau

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The Charles Harris Library Gallery is pleased to present recent work by artist Claire Rau. The three series on view rely on her keen historical sensibility and mordant sense of humor. Her Campagne series uses appropriated imagery from a 1960’s Middle School textbook dealing with religious and territorial wars of the Middle Ages. The prints, which brightly catalog battles and conquests of the Crusades, are incongruously backed by lace patterns, creating an hybrid narrative through ornamentation and color.

Rau’s Weapons series of soft sculptures reflect her interest in hand-to-hand combat and are meant to subvert ideals of virility and skill on the battlefield. The floppy, pliable forms are an unexpectedly wry twist on items otherwise intended to injure, maim, and kill. One is left to consider the fundamental absurdity behind paraphernalia of defense and destruction.  

The silkscreen prints of Rau's Booby Print series are connected to her series of booby trap sculptures. Inspired by the Hollywood jungle action movie Predator, these works are meant to represent antipersonnel devices. However, because of their ominous forms or intense colors, they become ridiculous cartoon-like menaces. The prints deal with issues of sacrifice, destruction, domestic violence, and warmongering. Several were made in response to her sculptural forms while others are more metaphoric, weaving research and ideas with an immediacy not present in her sculptural practice.

Claire Rau
was born in Sandusky, Ohio and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Maine and her graduate work at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Rau is a recent recipient of the Book Arts & Printmaking Fellowship at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy in 2006. She has taught printmaking and sculpture courses at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Currently, Rau is working on several projects, including a new body of work inspired by booby traps. She has recently exhibited at the Larson Gallery in St. Paul and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and at this time has work on display in Beyond Printmaking at the School of Art in Lubbock, Texas. This winter, she will be showing work at The Front, New Orleans as part of Another Prospect and at the Open Studio in Toronto, Canada.

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