The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

recent paintings

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I have spent the last six months painting obsessively and I have come to the end of my 72 canvas stash! Feeling both excited and sad that this part of the journey is over. I had no idea how these paintings would develop when I started them. Here are some of the ones I finished recently. They are oil on canvas and range in size from 20 x 20cms, 25 x 25cms and 30 x 30cms.

This is the most continuous and uninterrupted period time I have spent developing paintings, working nearly everyday in my studio for 6 months on them. For financial reasons, usually when I make such a large body of work I use recycled and found materials, such as my rubble installation, the bank statement boat installation or the floating ink works made with buoys. It has been really great to focus this much on painting on canvas. I even started making my own paint.

I draw all the time but I never do studies for the paintings beforehand, I prefer to work things out directly on the canvas, enjoying the element of chance and surprise. I improvise, working spontaneously hoping to make constant discoveries, no matter how small. One or two of them I might go back to and work on, but time will tell how they feel after a little bit of distance. I am working on 10 Chinese paper scrolls at the moment, its nice to stretch out a bit, they are 8 foot long but working with ink is a lot less forgiving and every mark I make stays visible forever.

After a few weeks of painting, some of the paintings started to gain a feel of moment so I continued along this journey. Thinking about Taoism and Eastern philosophy. I decided to call them after different types of bamboo, bamboo being highly regarded for its many virtues, and a symbol for harmony between nature and human beings.


Holttumochloa magica

Ochlandra travancorica

Phyllostachys arcana

Himalayacalamus hookerianus

Images above 1,2,3,4 oil on canvas 25 x 25cms (top 3 images ) & 30 x 30 cms (bottom image) Marianne Slevin 2019

Currently these are all available for private viewing at the Funny Little Gallery, Doolin



Written by Marianne Slevin

11 March, 2019 at 4:44 pm

72 canvases

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videocapture_20180730-165344It has been a long long time since I posted anything on my blog, but I have been painting alot. In fact I have 72 little square canvases in my studio and I am over half way through them already in about a month. To my delight while wandering through Aldi I noticed they were doing a deal on art supplies. They were doing a three pack of deep frame canvases for only €5! I bought one pack to try out, and they were absolutely fine, good quality. So over the next few days we bought a total of 72, completely due to James being persuasive. I was delighted that he was. I am now in painting bliss working most days in the studio. I think they will see me through to the end of the year.

I often work on free and recycled materials because I am always running out of materials. So having an almost endless supply is great. I am taking more risks and experimenting much more now I am not limited. It is exciting to watch how the journey is unfolding from day to day. It reminds me of a Camino in a way, every day is so different, I am not sure what is going to happen. Going into the unknown and then getting to know it.

It often turns out that the pieces at I feel the most unsure about in the beginning if I persevere with them, turn out to be the ones that I like the most in the end or are like a leap forward in my development. It is nice when you feel confident and enjoy the process of painting but this gets boring after a while and you have to make it a bit tricky for yourself in order to surprise yourself again. Nothing stays the same forever, adapting to change, even of what we ourselves find interesting and important to make artwork about and how we want to work is necessary in order to keep ourselves moving forwards. I will post some images of the paintings soon.

Written by Marianne Slevin

20 October, 2018 at 2:56 pm

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Journeys to the Ibex Beach Doolin

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I asked myself what would happen if I went to the Ibex (Doolin) Beach and did something for it and not look for anything in return. So I went with some sacks to carry back some plastic that I could wash and recycle. I had been getting driftwood and always seemed to be taking from the beach and not giving back. As I climbed over the gate with my three sacks full of washed up smelly plastic I turned around and spotted what looked like a giant mushroom in a clump of grass. It was round and white, I ran straight over to it, it was like the perfect gift! I had been drawing on bamboo fiber plates. This was the next stage in my drawing evolution; a 3d round drawing. It also had a beautiful meaning and story behind it. It was as if it held some of the energy of the sea inside it, the scrapes and scratches on the outside also added to its lovely surface that would take the ink.

After that I took regular walks to the Ibex beach to look for buoys. Most times I would find at least one to bring home to draw on. It was always such a surprise, they were all so different, so many different shades and sizes. In the beginning I found lots of yellows and oranges it was like they matched, they would seem to go through phases then I would find a new colour that I had never seen before. It reminds me of hunting for mushrooms when I was a child. I would enjoy the whole experience, the birds I would see the ever-changing shape of the beach itself, never the same, endlessly reinventing itself.

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 December, 2016 at 12:09 am

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All Returns Together ART

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It’s a new year and I am full of new energy and intentions for writing my blog. After such a long pause that I am having quite some trouble with remembering how do do it. I have been writing in my new sketch book and thought I would start by sharing my first page with you. They are called daily artists statements and inspired by the I Ching and perhaps there will be 64 different statements by the end of the year.

1. All Returns Together

I like art making for many reasons, for one, it has no definite starting point, like writing does. I even write on my art in random places. You don’t start at one corner of the work and work your way the the opposite corner, neither physically or conceptually.

A million things can effect the work to greater or lesser extents. The artist is a filter of ideas. Raw ideas come along during the day and night, they collide and merge with older ideas, they settle and work away like a slow cooker while the artist gets on with what ever the artist has to get on with. When the time comes to make something resembling art, the artist trusts their own inner process and works without trying to recall the ideas. Over time the ideas develop and become so much part of the artist that there is no need to think about them during the process of art making. It is more a case of feeling and listening.

Changing Lines

Listening to the weather and sounds of nature

All of a sudden hailstones!

Staring at my work in the studio,

Thoughtless and silent and still

Even my wellington boots have stopped keeping out the cold,

I think its time to move!

Written by Marianne Slevin

9 January, 2016 at 12:54 pm

A Little Bit About where I Am Coming From

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“Day Two of feeding the birds on a stone wall” Ink, dew and text on Japanese Paper Marianne Slevin November 2014

I have always loved loose work, scribbles and splurges such as Cy Twombly’s work, almost looking like the image got washed up on some artists paper or canvas by a wave. Early influences were expressionism and abstract expressionism such as Jackson Pollock, Land Art, Haiku poetry, where the poet merges with its subject so much they become one, Eastern philosopher and interpreter Alan Watts. Then I found John Cage’s visual art, Miceahangelo Pistolleto, Arte Povera, The Brazilian artists of the 50s and 60s such as Lygia Pape working for social change. Performance Artist Marina Abramovic, The ‘Beat’ writer Jack Kerouac and Aboriginal artists such as Judy Watson Napangardi and Jazz music, and that’s just the main characters!

Humanity tends to divide, separate and compartmentalize everything, I am drawn towards these rifts and gullies between things. Where East meets West, where formalism meets process, where art meets life and where intention meets the unknown. Performance comes into my process but I am not strictly a performance artist. I love the dark room but I am not really a photographer, I love the direct yet unexpected results you can achieve through printmaking, but I am not one for heavy presses. I prefer spontaneous in situ ways of working. However there are aspects of the dark room and the printing press in my work. I hack, invent, and use life around me to make images. I make unseen things in my environment visible and they develop in front of my eyes like a photograph, I also print with living things around me whether in the fridge or the garden. I use the elements, my environment whether inner or outer. My sense of self as the artist expands out into the universe around me meeting with the dew that settles on the grass and the leak that trickles through the window. I am a gentle opportunist borrowing whatever is around me to play with and grow with.

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 November, 2014 at 12:35 pm