Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress


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Chia Comics – My New Career?


I was recently invited to participate in an unusual art show, one that features comic covers.  In this show, every artist could exhibit up to three pieces and they had to be 8.5″x11″, unframed. Now comic covers are not something I ever do but I thought it would be a fun challenge.

So I began by thinking who my superhero would be and whether I could use the imagery from any of my previous artwork in this challenge. One thing I knew from the get go was that it had to relate to my life as an artist. The pieces had to say something about me and what drives me to create art.  I started to think about the prevalent themes and subjects in my work and the thing that stood out the most was my desire to communicate about relationships and perspectives and how I have often taken personal situations and presented them in a way that could resonate with many viewers. In doing so I have often been the subject of my artwork, so I decided that I had to be the superhero of my comics and my “power” would be to shine a light on people so that they could perceive themselves and their relationships with more clarity. And I knew exactly which pieces would work for this, three pieces from my Mirror, Mirror show, in which I delved into the theme of personal journey through exploration of self as viewed through the mirror of others’ perceptions.

The pieces I would choose to turn into comic covers would be some of those that included the red hand held mirror, the mirror being the means through which I would exercise my power of revelation. The mirror is of course a device that reflects what is shown in it. What is seen is affected as much by the clarity of that mirror as by the scope of what it reflects. These have been themes that I have explored at length in my work.

I wanted the word “mirror” to be incorporated into the name of my superhero and the name came to me in a flash of illumination. I am Italian and the word for mirror in Italian is “specchio” (the “cch” being pronounced as a “k”). Because the mirror being used was red this would be “specchio rosso”, but being female I changed it to Specchia Rossa. The coolest thing about this superhero name is that the first four letters of my name are “chia”! So the name relates on numerous levels. And it just sounds awesome! Of course I had to call my company Chia Comics!

The three covers had to tell a story and their tag lines had to relate to the original pieces.

So the first comic cover below, coming out this August, is based on my piece Here I Am, and its tagline is “For all the world to see!”. This first issue introduces Specchia Rossa and her power of illumination to the comic world, the tag line relating to both her power and her launch into the world.

For All the World To See

For All the World To See

The second cover, due out in September, is based on the piece, Will You Look In The Mirror? Its tagline, “Will you look in her mirror?”, challenges those who come into contact with Specchia Rossa to take an introspective and honest look at themselves if they dare. Was it not Socrates who said “An unexamined life is not worth living”?

Will You Look In Her Mirror?

Will You Look In Her Mirror?

The final cover, available in October and based on Who’s the Fairest?, is taglined “How will you fare?”. It is a little play on words that reminds us of the importance of courage and honesty in our relationships. Will you be presented with a “fair” image of yourself in Specchia Rossa’s mirror?

How Will You Fare?

How Will You Fare?

These three pieces will be printed onto heavyweight acid-free art paper and presented unframed for the Co-Mix Art Exhibition along with many other fabulous pieces by local artists. If you are in town, you are welcome to attend the opening at Martin Batchelor Gallery on Friday, August 15, 7-10:30 pm, and Saturday, August 16, 10am-5pm, and meet the many artists and wonderful comic covers on display. Show will continue to August 30.


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Tuesday Tales – Reflections On Water


Water Sprite

Water Sprite

A few years ago, I put together a show called Mirror, Mirror. In this show I explored themes of self perception as seen through the eyes of others. When creating the works for the show, I wanted to include one artwork that used water as the mirror. One of the thoughts I wanted to put forth was the importance of the clarity of the mirror in presenting what it shows, for the clearer the mirror the more true will be the reflection. Or in the case of people, the more free of preconceptions or misperceptions they are, the more honestly they will see you.

Water, being such a motile and refractable medium, easily affected by conditions surrounding it, would act as a good metaphor for a person who is unable to perceive you clearly and fully due to their own internal and situational circumstances. For this piece, I photographed my reflection in a bathtub filled with water. The bathtub, being under a skylight, reflected some branches and leaves just outside the window, making the figure appear outdoors rather than inside. The light, being dim, was only able to capture the forms in silhouette. This worked very well for what I was trying to express. With the figure turned away from the viewer and the forms barely discernable through the abstract swirls of paint, the viewer is offerd only a small obscured glimpse of the person, and therefore left to wonder and form their own opinions with minimal “clarification”. In the second print below, I increased the level of bewilderment even further by turning the figure upside down and painting greater movement and abstraction into the piece. The figure is seen as through a fog, the fog serving to symbolize the cloudiness of our own assumptions about others, and how important it is to clear that fog in order to see each other more clearly.

Water Sprite 2

Water Sprite 2

At the time I created these pieces I was struggling with the fact that vastly different perceptions of me could be had by the people in my life. I understood that distance and poor communication played a large role in this, but in time I realized that the assumptions and conclusions they made often had less to do with me and more to do with their own experience and concerns. And I was left wondering if it is ever possible to see others clearly and fully, for we all carry ourselves and our experiences with us.

Water Sprite and Water Sprite, 2 , both 8″x8″ monoprints on 15″x20″ paper, are offerd this week at $200 each or $350 for both, unframed.

You can contact me at chiarina@charina.com for further info or to purchase.


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Tuesday Tales – The Woman In the Mirror


Inside, Outside

Inside, Outside

 

The mirror is a common motif in my mother’s artwork.  It was prominent, obviously, in her mirror-themed exhibit.  Mirror images are not only a necessary part of the printmaking process, but also appear in many of my mother’s prints to distort and mystify images.  I have seen her hand write paragraphs in mirror image so that they will appear inverted in her prints.  Symbolic mirrors also abound in her work.  Her pieces, such as Inside Outside, often play with duality.  The left-hand-side, monochrome portion of this piece, what I choose to be the Inside, is presented in the first-person.  This face looks as though it might be looking in a mirror, like this is how my mother sees herself.  The face on the right-hand-side, however, is looking away, is covered, is in color.  This second, Outside face might be how others see her, might be her in the ‘real world.’  Because her gaze is not present here, this version of my mother is more objective.  Her own judgement doesn’t give this half of the print any bias since she doesn’t witness it like she does when her mirror image is presented in monochrome.  Which side is the truer version of my mother?  How do mirrors change who we are?  Mirrors provide one of the only ways to look at ourselves, yet many people perform for themselves when they look into mirrors, so how honest can this view be?

I am currently working on a short story (spoiler alert) in which the protagonist is a young girl’s imaginary dragon.  This dragon doesn’t know what he looks like.  He has never looked into a mirror.  As the story progresses and he finally gets a glimpse in some particularly reflective water, he sees himself, not as her imaginary dragon, but as the monster that lives under her bed.

So does looking into a mirror allow my mother to see her true self?  Or does looking into a mirror transform her into something else?

Inside, Outside, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching, is offered this week at $200, unframed.


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Tuesday Tales – When Moms Fly


Rain Dance

Rain Dance, detail

Today’s post is a guest post, written by my daughter while I’m up in the air off on an adventure. I’ve chosen this piece for her to write about in honour of Mother’s Day which is fast approaching. I thank her and look forward to reading what she has to say!

Daniela here.  Of course, I am publishing my Mother’s Day tribute post a day late, so this week I have a Wednesday Tale to offer.    I usually make my mom pancakes for Mother’s Day, but this year she will have to endure the unsalted bread she has condemned herself to while on vacation.  Some of the ingredients she will enjoy would undoubtedly make me cringe (porcini, nero di seppie), but for the most part, I am jealous of all the food she will have access to.  My approach to food, along with many other habits, has undeniably been influenced by my mother.  Today’s piece, Rain Dance, makes me think of how much I am like my mother, how much more I notice all the ways that I have inherited her.  The way that the son and mother in Rain Dance mimic each other’s stances, the way their right feet are both crossed and their heads both face down, reminds me how much I have learned to copy from my own mother.  The way I sniff, sigh in annoyance, hate packaged soup stock, or love science fiction, for example, are all borrowed from her.  These preferences and habits that have defined me among my friends are also what connect me to my mother.  I will realize that a quirk I have which I thought made me unique is really just a second-hand habit, a tribute.  I will realize that I am inescapably becoming my mother, but sometimes, she also becomes me.  Our shared appreciation of Linkin Park (many, many years ago) is proof of that and is something I think we both try to forget.

So Happy Mother’s Day, Mama, I told everybody that you like Linkin Park.

 

Rain Dance, an 11″x14″ mixed media monotype, is offered this week at $250 unframed, or $300 framed.


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Tuesday Tales – The Artist In The Mirror


Last week I received a promo e-mail from blurb.com. It prompted me to go on the website to check out a book I had self-published several years ago in conjunction with an art show entitled  Setsuna-In The Moment. Scrolling through the book I was reminded how much I enjoyed doing the layout for the book and using it as an adjunct to the show, using text and design to compliment the presentation of the art in the show. I remembered being asked to create books for two of my subsequent solo shows, Mirror, Mirror and The Body Speaks, and decided then and there to finally make them.

I have described the themes and works for these shows in earlier posts here, here and here. As I begin the work on these books I would like to showcase some of the pieces that will be included in them.

Through The Glass - In Her Eyes

Through The Glass – In Her Eyes

This week I would like to present one of the pieces from Mirror, Mirror. It is a photopolymer gravure etching titled Through The Glass – In Her Eyes. I chose this piece for it presents a running theme through all my shows, that of the artist functioning as a mirror to our collective souls.To do so requires a willingness to open oneself to scrutiny as well as the courage to look within oneself for truth and to present that truth as honestly and fully as possible. This piece does that on several levels.

The image is one seen literally through glass, from a photograph of another print behind glass on the wall of an art gallery. The first print, seen below and titled In Her Eyes, is from a previous show of the same name. This print had a number of poems as part of the work but they were partly covered by the images and moreover the writing was backwards, requiring the viewer to look at the print through a mirror to read them. They were poems of longing and deep sadness. Together with the image and its rich yet somber coloring, they expressed the plea of a hesitant soul wanting to be seen.

In Her Eyes

In Her Eyes

With the subsequent print the image has been reversed so that the words are more legible.  However, photographed behind the glass, it now reflects the walls and windows of the gallery, hiding some of the words and image, thereby creating an interplay of obfuscation and revelation. Inked in black on a stark white paper, it has a graphic quality that invokes the bold nature of both modern photography and traditional printmaking, giving it a sense of timelessness. All of these changes allude to the role of the artist as ‘exhibitionist’ and mirror in society, but also to the fine balance between the personal and the empathic that the artist must find in taking on that role.

Through the Glass – In Her Eyes, an 8″x10″ photopolyner gravure etching, is offered this week at $200, unframed.

In Her Eyes, a 17″x24″ monoprint, is offered this week at $600, unframed.


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Portraits In Prints


Portraits In PrintsRecently I had the pleasure of giving a talk on my work in conjunction with a show I was taking part in, Stinking Fish Artists: AT THE MAG

To prepare for the talk, I created two slideshows of my work, one on process and the other higlighting some of the recent figurative works I have done. I’d like to share them here, along with the introductions I gave during the talk. I hope you enjoy.

“My medium of choice is printmaking. I know this is a medium that not many people are familiar with and one that is often confused with reproduction work. So I will begin my talk with a brief explanation of the process of printmaking and of how I came to become a printmaker.

Many years ago, in the late 80s I was living in Japan. While I was there I attended the CWAJ Print Show in Tokyo, a show that was put on as a yearly fundraiser for a college women’s group and one that featured the work of many of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists, as well as the works of quite a few foreign artists living in Japan. The artworks in the show blew me away. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Unlike oils or watercolours, they had a quality and structure that defied understanding, and the subject matters, being highly influenced by Japanese culture, held a fascination and beauty that was very appealing. The descriptions of the works were baffling to me: etching, aquatint, mezzotint, lithograph, serigraph, wood cut, as was the fact that many of these pieces were done as editions yet were considered original works of art of great value. No amount of explanation or reading up on the terminology really helped to understand the processes involved in creating the works. But I happily immersed myself in the print scene and even bought a few prints myself, not understanding how they were made but appreciating their beauty nevertheless. At the time I continued my studies in ink brush painting and watercolour and continued with that as I moved around the world. In the year 2000 I returned to Japan and once again found myself captivated by the amazing print scene there but it wasn’t until I moved to Victoria, BC in 2002 that I finally took my first printmaking class at MISSA at Pearson College. I finally, through the process of actually making prints, understood what printmaking was all about. I came to understand that it was a process of transferring an image from one substrate to another with the use of pressure, and in the process of doing so a unique and intriguing work of art is created. There are many ways of doing this transfer process and the one I have become most fascinated with is the process of photo etching. What I love about this process is that it uses light to create an image and it allows for the use of photographic imagery to be used and manipulated to create the final work. The following slide show takes you step by step through that process. It begins with a series of images that begin with the original photograph and end with the print and then it moves on to how the plates and prints are created. The large black box you will see in some of the slides is one of my light boxes that exposes the plate to light to create the image on the plate. So here is the first slideshow.

Portraits In Prints, Part 1

As you will have noticed most of my imagery is figurative work. I began doing figurative work a few years ago when I decided I was going to do a self portrait. I had a need to express something important to me and  to push some boundaries in my life and in my art and I realized that a self portrait could do the trick. Well this first self portrait snowballed into many series of figurative works that culminated in three solo shows, several small group shows and some critical acclaim with a total of five awards at various large juried art shows on the island. But the most important thing it did was allow me to finally create works that were inspired from within, that helped me find my voice to tell my own truths and to ask my own questions. I could create artwork that mattered, that not only reflected my journey through life but helped me along that journey, and I soon found that it helped others as well for it connected with viewers on a deeper, more emotional and personal level than my artwork ever has before. I found I was finally able to create artwork that could act as a mirror for others to find their own truth and see their journeys in and that is very satisfying and exciting to me. So here is Part Two of Portraits in Prints. It shows a good number of the figurative works that I have created in the past few years. I hope you enjoy.

Portraits In Prints, Part 2


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Will You Look In The Mirror?


Will You Look In The Mirror?

Will You Look In The Mirror?

A simple request, yet how daunting it can be to face the truth that is reflected there. And how well do we see from the narrow field of our own perceptions?

Photo shoots are an exciting exercise in trust and surrender. Allowing yourself to go with the flow and trusting in your instincts can often yield surprising results and revelations.

The image captured in this photopolymer gravure etching was one of the last to be taken in a photo shoot that had me scrambling back and forth from the camera to a mirror as I attempted to capture some enigmatic double reflection shots. Working intuitively and almost blindly, I surreptitiously arrived at this composition that, upon first viewing, immediately struck a chord with me. I was captivated by the light, the expression on my face, the angle and prominence of the hand held mirror. Upon further ‘reflection’ I realized this image told a greater story than at first realized.

It struck me that whether it is the viewer or the woman in the mirror; neither is getting a full view of the person. The woman is half hidden from the viewer and is in shadow. The light from the window behind her shows her reflection more clearly to her in the little mirror but being so small it also only gives her a partial view. So both do not see the whole picture and what they see differs in scope and clarity.

So it becomes not only a choice of whether to look in the mirror but what mirror to look through.  Why does the woman choose to look at herself through the smaller mirror instead of looking up to see the larger reflection? Why is her robe open, yet she has placed herself in a corner, half hidden behind her own mirror? Is she playing a game with the viewer, tantalizing him with the promise of revelations? Do her surroundings have something to reveal as well?

Why do I find such enigmatic set-ups so fascinating? I suppose the easy answer is that I like to create works for the viewer to ponder and ‘reflect’ upon. Or perhaps I am playing my own game with my viewers.

This etching will be one of a series of prints that will include this little red mirror in an upcoming show I am pleased and excited to present, entitled Mirror, Mirror, opening on July 30th  at the Collective Works Gallery in Fernwood, Victoria.  Will you come take a look? Opening reception starts at 7pm. Show runs until August 12.