Artist: Clare Samani
Media: clothing, monotype, collagraph
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
Clare Samani is about to graduate with her BFA in printmaking from California State University, Long Beach School of Art. Browsing through her Instagram you will see she is quite the busy bee. Her work is not only aesthetically pleasing but encourages deeper thought. In her latest exhibition, dressed, she explores fashion as a form of communication and medium of expression. Clare describes her work as, “exploring the symbolism and identity inextricably intertwined with people and clothing”.
The work uses monotype and callograph print making methods. Starting with the background colors the clothes come into contact with the ink and then are pressed. The lines share the lines print take on the lines of the garment – undulating and rippled. The tones chosen by Clare are equally bold and subdued. The colors are deep yellow, purple, shades of blues and rusty reds. Since the prints were developed using the actual items of clothing, they picked every bit of texture the garments had. The texture is so clear and obvious to the naked eye. Even up close the print is so clean that they almost appear as x-rays.
Clare has been working with this particular exhibit for just over a year and a half now. The clothes were either given to her, bought or found. Her goal expressed through her printmaking is to create object based portraits using the fabric as both a material artifact and tool to creating imagery. She sees them as an, “exploration into the complex world of self-representation, cultural and personal identity, and fashion.” Fashion plays a major role in the idea of personal self verse social self. One can use fashion to express their inner self while conveying a message about who they want to be socially.
When I walked into the exhibit I was instantly drawn to the material. The work was captivating. While I know fashion is an expression and form of art, when you take a piece of clothing out of its purpose (to be worn) and put it in 2D format on a print, it modifies the meaning of the item. I like how Clare uses fashion to objectively to create imagery that I otherwise take for granted on people. I agree with the artist that clothing, while serving a purpose, has grown into having so much more meaning in this era. We get to choose how the world sees us through our fashion choices. It brings me back to my days in retail management. I would help people choose clothing, and everyone has such a different opinion about what looks good. Clare did a brilliant job in catching the simplicity of self expression.