Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress


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Paper Dreams


Paper Dreams

Paper Dreams

I am thrilled to finally unveil my latest large piece, Paper Dreams, which was completed in 2015. Paper Dreams is probably the most complex and considered artwork I have created to date. Below is the artist statement I prepared for the work.

“Paper Dreams is a complex paper and wood sculpture created as a meditation on the impermanence and fragility of our dreams. Designed to loosely resemble paper strips going through a shredder, it consists of multiple photopolymer gravure prints with poetry, and reflects a significant period in my artistic life. By cutting and discarding portions of these prints, I surrendered the life I had created for them. In doing so I was able to create something new and beautiful, demonstrating how destruction and creation often go hand in hand, as do fragility and resilience.”

The idea for Paper Dreams began with a desire to create a complex paper construct made up of multiple hand-pulled prints, which would provide glimpses of figures in various moments and moods. This would be achieved through a combination of layering, folding and cutting of the prints. I had, over the years, created a large number of figurative works on paper, and in a decisive moment of clarity I realized what I truly wished to achieve. I wanted to create an artwork that represented who I was as an artist at this moment in time. Gathering all these images together in one piece would be one way to do that. At the same time, by tearing and discarding portions of these prints I was letting go of the life and dreams I had created for them individually. This was not an easy thing to do. I chose prints that I had deep connection to for their meaning and quality, as well as the treasured experience of creating them. They were an integral part of my life as an artist and a woman. Many of them were self portraits. By shredding them I was letting go of my own dreams. And in the letting go I found that I was able to create something new and beautiful with its own new life and meaning.

Below is a photo of the initial stages of layering and ordering the images. Some of the prints had to be cut and collaged onto new stips of paper to fit well. Here you see them before any collaging was done.

IMG_8005a

Paper Dreams in progress

Several new prints were created for the piece as well, and new and old poems were added throughout the work, all with dream motifs.  While choosing the images for the piece I realized that the word “dream” had been used in a good many of the individual artwork titles. Where I could, I left these visible. Below is a detail showing some of the poetry.

Paper Dreams, detail

Paper Dreams, detail

The photo above also shows how the layering affords mere glimpses at times of the images behind the front layers. I decided early on that this piece would be unframed and the poetry would be written in pencil, as this was an essential part of the theme of fragility. It was also necessary in order to lift layers to see those behind.

To anchor the pieces of paper I chose two strips of maple cut from one piece sliced in half and which had a  gorgeous live edge on the top. I found it rummaging through Detlef Grundmann’s woodworking shop and commissioned him to cut and sand it to size for me. I then finished it with GAC on the inside for a protective barrier where the paper would adhere to and with a finishing wax everywhere else. The pieces of paper were then glued on in four layers, two to the back piece and two to the front piece of wood. Finally the two pieces of wood were joined together as shown below. The back piece was wired like a regular frame for hanging

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Clamping the wood pieces together.

Below is a side view of the artwork showing its three dimensionality.

paper Dreams, side view

Paper dreams, side view

The title, Paper Dreams, works on several levels. It refers to the nature of the materials used in the artwork, wood and paper being the same material in different stages of creation. Primarily it denotes the fragile and transitory nature of life, attachments and desires and the deeply personal perspectives from which we view our world and ourselves.

Paper Dreams will have it’s unveiling at the 2016 Sooke Fine Art Show this July 22 – August 1 at the SEAPARK Complex in Sooke, BC. There will be a Purchaser’s Preview evening on Thursday, July 21, 7-10pm and an Artists’ Celebration on July 23, 7-10pm. If you are in the area please do visit the show and enjoy the many fabulous artworks on display.

To whet your appetite here is a final detail of the artwork.

Paper Dreams, detail

Paper Dreams, detail 2

Paper Dreams, photopolymer gravure on paper on wood, 34″x33″

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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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Photo Fridays – Remembering My Dad


Coming to Canada - March 19, 1964

Coming to Canada – March 19, 1964

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 81, but he passed away in 2009. I wrote about his passing and the effect it had on me in an earlier post. I still get choked up when I read it, even after so much time. But I also smile when I realize where my own life has taken me since then, to new and unexpected love and adventures. It seems my life has always been a series of adventures, beginning with that eventful trip to Canada in 1964. That’s me on the right in the picture above, looking like a little waif.

Looking at this picture I can see character traits in each of our faces that still hold true to this day: a stubborn strength in my sister on the left, a gentle intelligence in the one on my dad’s knee, a kindness exhuding from my mother, and I note she is the only one smiling, and hesitant reservation in my father. (The stranger posing in the background and the huge jugs of wine on the tables still makes me laugh.) Absent are the sister who was left behind in her grave and another yet to be born. I see this picture and I wish my mother’s arm had been around my shoulder for I  look so lost and forlorn. I wasn’t used to change and, to this day, I remember the strange taste and texture of the bread on board the Saturna, though little else except having to go on deck with life jackets in a storm. My mother tells me we were all seasick for a good part of the eight day voyage but I seem to have blocked that memory. I remember nothing of our trip to Naples to board the ship, and only a few images of the countryside while travelling by train to Montreal from Halifax. Again, I do remember our first meal at my aunt’s house when we arrived. It was chicken soup with little bow pasta. It tasted strange as well, and I couldn’t eat much. I was a very picky eater as a child. I still am, though I don’t mind strangeness nearly as much. I have lived in far too many places to let newness bother me. In fact I rather look forward to new experiences and feel restless when life becomes too monotonous.

My father never really liked change or adventure. His penurious circumstance propelled him to a new country in the hopes of a better life for himself and his family. This he achieved quite well. His courage to bring his large family to a strange new world and start fresh with no education, no skills or even language leaves me in awe, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities this opened up for me and my sisters. But my dad never really enjoyed his life in Canada. He spent his years there wishing to go back to Italy to retire. This he never managed to do for he became ill shortly before retirement and was hospitalized for the last years of his life. He did manage numerous trips back and spent a few wonderful summers there. The picture below is from his youth, riding atop his mule, Giulia. I hope somewhere, somehow, that memory of a lost youth is still alive and bringing him joy. I know the thought of it makes me smile.

Copy of dad_and_giulia - Copy-2

Dad and Giulia

A few more pictures of my father can be seen here.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! Hug your dad if he is close. Call him if he is far away.


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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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Tuesday Tales – The Magic Around The Corner


Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

A few years ago I wrote a post about my daughter turning of age, calling it Time The Beckoning Thief. This past Sunday we celebrated her birthday again and I couldn’t help but take note of the changes in our lives that time has brought. We are both with new partners and in new homes. She is about to graduate from university and take on the challenges of this new stage in her life. My work has continued to evolve and be a source of tremendous joy and growth. But the most significant change for me has been the realization that magic can truly be just around the corner, for I have experienced it. Back then I was awash in memories and longings. Now I am filled with life’s possibilities and certainties, for I have experienced joys and adventures only hitherto dreamt of and I face the future with the knowledge that life will still surprise and amaze me.

And sometimes what amazes me is the constancy of certain things, like the bond between mother and daughter. Despite the changes in our lives, our love and need for each other remains steadfast. I am so proud of my daughter. She is an inspiration in ways too numerous to express. And she continues to be my muse. The image of her below is one of my favorites, for how it captures the contrast of strength and fragility, youth and wisedom that so characterises her. I have printed it several times in different ways, including one in which she is painted blue! The title, Sandro’s Dream, refers to the resemblance of her face here to Sandro Botticelli’s Venus in his Birth of Venus.

Sandro's Dream, 2

Sandro’s Dream, 2

Birth of Venus, detail, by Sandro Botticelli

Birth of Venus, detail, by Sandro Botticelli

Sandro's Dream, 2, detail

Sandro’s Dream, 2, detail

For this print I textured her face with tiny crackles to resemble an old frescoe. I did this to allude even further to her Italian heritage. The scenery on either side of her places her firmly in the present, on the beautiful island home we share.

Sandro’s Dream, 2, a photopolymer gravure etching measuring 16″x12″, is offered this week at a special price of $500 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