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.
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.
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!
“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.
After a long long absence, I have returned to my blog. Things have been moving along in there usual erratic way, slowly slowly then very very fast! On 26th May their was a launch of my recent work at The Kitchen at Galway City Museum. I gave a talk about my practice to a very open-minded and gracious group of people who came to the first of the Galway Meets Art exhibitions and talks. There will be one every month curated by Julia Dunin, I look forward to more regular trips to Galway for these. The work is still up for another two weeks, if anyone is in the Galway area. The Kitchen is a lovely place to get something to eat too.
I showed 10 small framed generative paintings and drawings and one large piece. These included flood records, leaks, puddles and wind records, all of which were created this January and February as the wind and rain often entered our cottage. Using the simple materials of ink, water and paper, I am interested in making visible that which is invisible or fleeting and making connections between things that are all around us but often overlooked. Nature makes the initial marks and I make these mark visible or more defined, isolated as focal points. I like when the work is quirky and playful. I need to keep surprising myself with what I make.
The images below are wind records that I made 14 years ago underneath this very clothes line using folded and stitched bank statements to create vessels that dripped indigo pigment and oil onto the cotton sheets below. I just came across these images today and thought that I would post them as they relate to my resent work in Galway and the work I am making now in The Secret Gallery. Please forgive me if I have posted them before. I hope to have all my new images of work somewhere where I can access them soon, not just on my camera and phone!
In The Guru Teahouse, Ennistymon, Co Clare, from Thursday 12th 13th & 14th 9.30 -6 and Sunday 16th December 11-4, this painting and others will be for sale for whatever price you are happy to pay for them. For four days only, I am taking the prices off my paintings so that people who usually can’t afford to buy original art work can buy a piece of my art.
I am extending the creative process beyond the art object, so this exhibition is a continuation of my practice as an artist. I hope to make art more accessible everybody. I think that if people get to see piece of art in their homes everyday they, it is very different to spending a few minutes with it in a gallery. Many people never get this opportunity.
In a world where things are designed to brake or go out of fashion after a year or two, art is something that lasts for generations and is worth just as much after you buy it. You feel great when you buy it. I hope you find some painting you love!