The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for January 2012

Is There An Artist In The House?

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Work in Progress, studio, Marianne Slevin, 2012

I am not one for any kind of dogma, so I do not think that Artists should have to make art in any particular way at all. For my own practice I see it like this: The ship is going down and what am I going to do about it? I do not want to make art for art’s sake alone, nor do I want to make art for artists alone. I want to make my tiny offering of art for the planet, and multitude of ecosystems and communities that live on this great whirling rock in space.

Two books on art have changed my thinking more then any others, the first one was “The unpainted Landscape” essays and texts, by Simon Cutts. The other was “Conversations Before the End of Time” by Suzi Gablik. These books shifted my practice that had been more about the modernist ideal of art for arts sake, towards a more socially engaged way of working. In the words of Suzi Gablik, “…for such artists, vision is not defined by the disembodied eye, as we have been trained to believe. Vision is a social practice that is rooted in the whole of the being.” from The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art, New Renaissance Magazine.

Currently, I am making an art work with muffin cases and another with maps folded into paper boats. On the paper cases I am writing different things that would change the world for the better, in my opinion. I would also like to write other people’s wishes for a better world. If you would like to send them into the comments, I would write them down and dip them in wax as part of an artwork. Happy dreaming of a better world!

Written by Marianne Slevin

22 January, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Art as Altering Terminal Relationships

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Photograph by Marianne Slevin, Liscannor Pier, Co Clare 2012

Lately I have been writing up so many proposals and having to condense my art into a few words that it has done something funny to my brain. I was also influenced by a TED talk by Sebastian Wernicke who condensed 1,000 TED talks into 6 words. This was a funny exercise so I thought I would try to do it with art. There are so many different sorts of art but what holds them all together what is the common denominator?

New ways of seeing the world brought to its final conclusion could be seen as altering terminal relations.

Altering: because an artist endeavors to create different and personal ways of seeing the world we live in.

Terminal: because an artist challenges limitations, boundaries and  changes endings, and the final outcome of things. In this context artists challenge preconceived notions about reality, breaking up static and fixed ideas through their inventions and creations.

Relations: because artists explore the relationships between things, whether through materials and or concepts. Nothing exists purely on its own, but is a stream of interconnected relationships.

ATR doesn’t spell ART but artist’s always see things differently so why would it!

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please write a comment with your words on what art is, in a few words. Try 3 words!

Written by Marianne Slevin

21 January, 2012 at 12:37 pm

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In Hindsight in Foresight

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The Mycelium and Earth Regeneration Project, ink and pigment on paper map, 2011 Marianne Slevin

If someone was ever to ask me, “what Art College I should apply to? or where should I live if I want to give my art career a really good chance?” I would say go to where there is a vibrant art scene, great galleries and museums and a lot of artists. That is if you care about being successful as a recognized artist. For a wonderful Christmas present James my husband gave me two mammoth books, Vitamin P2 and Vitamin D by Phaidon, new perspectives in Painting and Drawing. I was not entirely surprised to see where the Artists lived, nearly all of them live in major cities particularly New York and other American cities, even if they were born somewhere else. Another example of this is the artist Katie Holten, who is one of my favorite contemporary artists. She grew up in rural Ireland and now has a very successful art career in New York.

What are we to do about this? We cant all up sticks and leave to go to a metropolises seeking fame and fortune! One thing we can do is to create our own mini vibrant art scene around us, by joining others for reinforcement. Bringing our creative skills outside our practice as well, inventing new ways of working within a rural community. I have just joined the Artist’s group called Ground Up Artists Collective. These are a group of around 20 Artists who have their own practices but come together as a collective for art projects within the rural community as well is galleries. I am really looking forward to taking part in some new diverse works. The Altruism Movement T.A.M. is also starting to come together again and we will be starting to do some collaborative projects very soon again.

Another thing we can do is realize that while it might be harder to gain recognition in rural places as an Artist the rural is a wonderful and inspiring place to make art work, and the more Artists that stay the more creative a place it will be for everyone. However I do intend to visit cities more to create more openings to show my work to a larger audience. Starting with Dublin where I am also looking forward to seeing the work of Rivane Neuenschwander in The Irish Museum of Modern Art, then London then who knows! What do you Think?

Written by Marianne Slevin

20 January, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Enjoy it!

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Work in Progress oil on canvas Marianne Slevin

There has been a lot of Alan Watts recorded chatter going on around here lately. Alan Watts was a very entertaining philosopher. The book  is called “Your it!” James gave it to me for my Birthday, he also gave me “Empowering Women” by Louise L. Hay, I have been really enjoying both of them. What really struck me from the very beginning of both books was that the authors said “I am not a healer” Louise L. Hay and “I am not a guru” Alan Watts, it is all about you. I like this attitude. What I also realized was that I want to be “digging the now” as Alan Watts puts it, when it comes to making art and doing it because I am really enjoying doing it, not to try to be good or make work to impress people. This my seem obvious but when I heard it, it made me rethink. There is so much pressure on artist trying to look and sound coherent particularly for commercial galleries that much of the enjoyment of making art is lost. Artists whose work was once exciting and unselfconscious becomes dull, tripping over itself.  What is the point unless you are enjoying it! I know I enjoy making art but somehow I never fully realized just how important that was before. I wanted to make good work before, now I don’t care who thinks it is good or not I am just doing it because I enjoy it. I feel like I have defiantly lost a couple of wrinkles!

This sounds really simple but what happens then is that what you enjoy doing one moment changes and you become bored and have to keep finding the new things to keep you surprised and entertained. Each different painting will have many different stages of enjoyment in it. With the piece that I have been working on for the past two months on and off, more off than on! I painted until I ran out of excitement and then I stopped, I looked at it many times to see if I know what to do with it, not until yesterday was I able to and today I really enjoyed bringing something else to it that I didn’t have before.  It is constantly moving and shifting like everything else. There are challenging times when you are not enjoying it and you are wondering how to! For me every painting is unique and you have to kind of trick yourself to get out of your own way and let it happen. The allure of paintings for me is not in the obvious or the details but the magical symphony that happens when you soften your gaze and disengage your rational brain for a while!

Written by Marianne Slevin

3 January, 2012 at 12:37 am