Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress


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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.


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The Art of Submission – playing the game


“And I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd

 Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud

 And I know that you’ll use them however you want to.”

                                                                       Anna Nalick

This past week I submitted a number of artworks to two shows, one a juried show in a prestigious gallery, the other an all inclusive community arts council show that would be awarding numerous prizes. At the same time, I am waiting to see whether I will be voted into a cooperative gallery that I am hoping to become a member of.  All this anticipation of my work being critiqued by others has made me realize what an integral part of many artists’ lives adjudication has become.

We submit our artwork to shows, galleries and collectives, hoping they will find our work to be worthy of acceptance and maybe even recognition, while bracing ourselves and developing our thick skin for the inevitable rejections that come our way. We do this in order to have our work seen and collected by a wider and more appreciative audience, having garnered esteem and credibility through these associations. I wonder, though, about what we lose in the process of trying to gain acceptance.

Submission implies compliance, a relinquishing of power and control. When we submit our work to the appraisal of others we are not only allowing them to make value judgments of our work but also giving them a measure of control over our careers and our progress as artists. We can all too easily become like Sleeping Beauty, waiting to be discovered by the prince who will make us successful ever after. A few rejections can leave us sleeping for an eternity while a bit of recognition may get us to the palace only to discover we have been brought there as scullery maid. With time and experience artists can learn to take back control and use the system of submission to our advantage, choosing carefully the associations we foster that will best promote our work. Where we show then becomes almost more important than what we show.

One of the pitfalls that the savvy submitter needs to guard against is the enticement of creating work to satisfy those we submit our artwork to. While knowing the criteria and preferences of our judges is invaluable in knowing whether our art will be well received, it should not result in a loss of creative integrity. Fortunately, the submission game is one with no clear rules or expected outcomes so the best strategy remains to use these opportunities for submission to create the very best work we are capable of while staying true to ourselves as an artist and a human being. By doing so everyone wins at the submission game.


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In Her Eyes – The Afterglow


photo by Jason Schultz

We are defined by our firsts. Some we anticipate: my first job; some we dread: first death in the family. Some happen very early: my first kiss, with a French boy! at the age of  ten; some take a while: my first art award many, many years later. Whatever they are and whenever they happen we arrive on the other side of them forever and fundamentally changed.

 My first solo art show in a gallery took over a year in the making and many before that in the dreaming. The preparations took on a fever pitch in the final weeks and it was with very mixed emotions that I dropped my babies off at the gallery two days prior to the opening night. But the work was done, all that I could get done, for nothing is ever as completely ready as you would like it to be, and all that remained was for the art to finally be seen.

 Opening night turned out to be a brilliant evening spent in the company of friends, family and a few new fans, all of whom had gathered to celebrate with me. To say I was overwhelmed by the turnout and congratulations would be an understatement! The evening passed all too quickly in a blur of happiness and excitement. Fortunately, I had some awesome friends who recorded the event with their cameras! Images from the evening can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42284018@N06/sets/72157623200117436/

 As special and exciting as the opening was, however, it has been the intensity of  the response to my work since the show’s opening, often from unexpected persons, that has given me the greatest joy and satisfaction. To be told my art was ‘poignant and beautiful’, ‘moving and incredibly fine art pieces with depth of meaning’, ‘brilliant’, ‘honest and soothing’, ‘courageous’, ‘stunning like a winter solace’, just blew me away. All artists hope that their work will resonate with people. To see it doing so on such a deep and personal level has been tremendously gratifying and encouraging, and it is a large part of what keeps me inspired to continue with it. Art for me has always been a form of communion with others, a way of both revealing my inner truths and reflecting what I perceive of this world. The challenge and excitement for me is to take it beyond a one way form of communication, and with these works, I think I have succeeded in doing that to a certain extent.

 On the practical side of things this show has been an exercise in self promotion, for there can be no communication unless the work is seen by others.  This blog has been a primary way of “getting the word out” and facilitating that two way communication that is so important to me and my work. So if you are reading this and are in the vicinity of the Martin Batchelor Gallery in Victoria, I invite you to see the show before it closes on February 4th and let me know your impressions of the work. I’ve also posted a gallery of selected artworks from the show on my website here: http://chiarina.com/gallery/in_her_eyes_artshow/

 And so, two weeks after the opening, I find myself on the other side of my first solo art show. It is an achievement that fills me with new confidence and an experience that pushes me forward with new clarity and humility along my career and life paths. I know it has made me a better artist and, in the process, I hope a better person.

 I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all who have made it out to the show and to all who have and continue to support my work. I would not be here without you.