The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for October 2008

The tyranny of themes

leave a comment »

Today, I went to see a painting exhibition by Cóilín Rush, in The Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon. I am not an Art critic and I wont pretend to be one! I liked the show, particularly a painting called “Big Trouble in Little China”, which was particularly playful. What grabbed my attention was the Artist’s statement, where they said  they disliked themes, and then went on to say,”….to bend it’s meaning and pervert it’s destiny…”when taking about open submission calls for Artworks where there is a theme.” I think themes sometimes prevent us from seeing the work that Artist’s do when left alone”. I do agree with this artist, and somehow think that because of the Artist’s refusal to pin themselves down too much, I found the show more intriguing, however there did seem to be a secret theme going on! Maybe the one that happens without us labelling it before it is cooked! I thought it was funny because I wrote something a little similar in yesterday’s blog!

The Courthouse gallery is a great creative hub of activity, there is always something going on there, we are really lucky to have it in Ennistymon. There are regular Exhibitions, Artist’s Studios, workshops and classes, and even a Puppet Show coming soon, we hope to go to!

Written by Marianne Slevin

24 October, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Art and the middle way

leave a comment »

Art often seems to encourage extremism and obsession. Art schools say to their students, take it further, push it to the limits, make it more so! This can all be very good, but then cant it be very bad too? When I went to see the Dalai Lama speaking to an audience in Barcelona last year, and he said something like, that making art could be bad because it caused angst, this was not the encouragement that I would have liked to have heard from His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Yes it can cause angst, but does it have too? The dichotomy that art can be therapy but also cause angst, where is the middle way to be found? More then therapy, less then angst, or less then therapy, more then angst, depending on how you see it!

I am attempting to create art without the angst! I am also attempting to make art every day and make every day more art! Yesterday, I embellished a skirt that my friend gave me along with the small green disks of wood that had been a neck lace once, but our son changed that! I stitched on the disks to form the word peace across the front of the skirt. I have decided to start designing my own clothes. If the people wont go to the Secret Gallery, the Secret Gallery will go to the people! I am not extreme at all! I like the idea of wearing art like it was normal everyday behaviour, maybe one day it will be!        

Written by Marianne Slevin

23 October, 2008 at 11:27 am

No time like the present

with 2 comments

The present is all that exists, the past is gone, the future is not yet found, but within the present we can change the past and the future. I used to think that it was best to follow your natural way; what feels right. Now I think that sometimes to improve on our past we have to do what feels difficult, and uncomfortable and pushes us outside of our comfort zones. Why am I saying all of this, I don’t really know, maybe I am attempting to write like I practice my art! You just start, it feels uncomfortable and often vulnerable; you cant see any outcome but you keep going till one appears. It is an uncomfortable state to continuously put yourself in, why do we still do it ? If you totally understand what you are doing, how can you create something new? But to expose yourself as not knowing what you are doing is a risky business!

To stand completely in the present, is to be the you, who you are now, not then, and not the one you may become. While I am involved in the practice of art, I search out this present state continuously, sometimes these present states seem to almost repeat themselves over and over again to form an image that we perceive ourselves to be; we feel like we have some kind of substance, it is almost like a security blanket! Maybe we sometimes hold onto to this a little too tightly. I feel that much of the art world reaffirms this, by urging artists to stay within the parameters, almost of a ‘catch phrase’ that describes the whole of their art practice. I think that this can be extremely limiting. I am who I am now in this present moment, my art will, I hope reflect this, but who I am tomorrow my be very different. I am a little bit of allot of things, and I am very reluctant to box myself in and overly define myself when expansion calls!     

Written by Marianne Slevin

21 October, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art

Tagged with ,

Art, Serendipity and Non-Attachment

leave a comment »

Sorry to disappear like that! Not that many people will actually have noticed but for those of you who have, I totally blame computers for my lack of resent posts! However, I have been doing some more painting. It was great to pick up a paint brush instead of turning on the computer for the last few mornings. The awful truth is that I loath computers but have become reliant on them, and now when faced with a simple pen and pad, I cant even write a sentence! I start to doodle and before I know it, I am dreaming, drifting off into another world. How many scruffy little bits of paper float around our house, where I started writing but became tired or distracted and my spidery hand writing was simply not a pleasure to form any longer. I do like writing words on my painting and drawings, but there are few words, so this I can do!
This morning I also started to work into a piece that our children had a go at yesterday: there were little footprints, spilt paint, crayon drawing, so I decided to let the marks that were on the paper inspire what would come next; juxtaposing the unconscious playful marks with more considered marks and some text. This sort of child parent collaboration can be done either with both adult and child drawing at the same time, or what I did this time was waited till the water based paint was dry, so I could draw over it. I was able to quietly work on my own, doing some more delicate drawing. I love this aspect of serendipity in the work. It is also freeing to stop and work in a different way to normal. I also let our children continue to draw on top of the drawing that I had done, as a little act of non-attachment!

Written by Marianne Slevin

19 October, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art

Tagged with , ,

Rising tide lines

with 2 comments

Yesterday, we drove through such a deep flood, that the head lights of our Lada Niva filled with water, and made them look like goldfish bowls! Apparently about 70% of the earth is covered in water. Our own bodies are also about 70% water, I think. What happens when the ice melts with global warming? If the ratio of land to water changes on the earth, what will become of our own physical bodies? Are we not also part of nature? Shall we float or drown or perhaps go else where!

I just had a realization today that I have had a preoccupation with waterlogged fields, for years. Probably from before I ever heard of global-warming. I have done many paintings of unexpected objects under the sea; from beds to bulbs, trees and horses! I have done instillations of drowning/floating hand made objects too.

After an unexpectedly inspiring visit, to a certain  particularly miserable supermarket, sometime early in the early hours, an image of an instillation came in to my mind of a clean empty supermarket, in the open fridge section there was an arrangement of beautifully hand painted milk cartons. They were paintings of dripping sea and sky in what looked like oil paint, but considering they were painted in recycled milk cartons, they were painted with a lot of care and love. The cartons had plastic screw caps so they looked like they could still be full of milk, maybe they were! The flash of an image I had was a perfect antidote to the previous ‘real’ visit to the supermarket.

James suggested getting lots school children to paint one carton each, brilliant! so we are off the find the empty supermarket and ask allot of school children to paint their own interpretations of global-warming and the sea on a milk or fruit juice cartons. Getting children involved in this collaborative project would be great, I also love the idea of doing something to raise environmental awareness with art, both bringing our attention to how much stuff we are creating to simply be thrown away as well as the huge issue of global-warming!

Peace to all!  

Written by Marianne Slevin

11 October, 2008 at 8:44 pm