The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for the ‘Happenings and interventions’ Category

The Art Of Playing 24/7

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Baby Doll with Goose Barnacles by Marianne Slevin 2012

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Baby Doll reaching for Goose Barnacles by Marianne Slevin 2012

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Baby Doll with Driftwood and Goose Barnacles  by Marianne Slevin 2012

 

I play hard at being a visual artist, in fact I do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, there seems to be no off button !  Don’t get me wrong my play can get pretty serious, challenging and exhausting! Actually I started making art because I could express my more “heavy” and “intense” feelings without feeling like a freak, when I went to art college I met many intense characters! I tend to be a very serious person, though I can be very silly too! So my art tends to be very seriously playful! The work part of my practice is the other stuff that I have to do as an artist but I try to keep “work” out of the whole process of making art. We are obsessed with working, we work too hard and too much we should be living instead. Is this why to be a successful artist nowadays you have to spend way more time working on you career than making your art?  I want to stop calling my art “my work”. Art for me is inventing a new visual language, shape-shifting between different disciplines, merging art and our everyday life and going beyond it into fantasy and looking back into the past, all at the same time. Art is attempting the impossible, failing, achieving something unexpected, balancing our own will with chance. It is playing with life and exploring the world around us. Art is working on a personal level and a universal level without interruption. Art for me is about transformation, the process of art is transformative and I choose materials that are not considered “valuable” and through the creative process I aim to transform the simple materials into something meaningful and inspiring, drawing attention to the creative process. I invite the viewer to take a journey, and perhaps to feel this too. Art for me is about waking up fully.

I don’t want the audience to marvel at my talent at drawing or painting because I am so precise, for me that gets in the way. I would like the viewer to come away from my art feeling something, maybe inspired to be creative and inventive and imaginative and playful themselves. I have not set goals or aims for my art, in how it effects the viewer, I do think about it from time to time but I cannot control its outcome. The whole process of of my art is a game of control and lack of control, intention and accident, logic and intuition, knowing when to push away or pull towards, so inevitably this sort of dialogue will continue when the art leaves my hands too. I think these transformative acts ripples out into the universe in many ways.

I found this doll and driftwood with goose barnacles hanging off it last February. It was on my Birthday, I was walking on Fanore beach, it felt very apt and kind of funny, to find the little doll. So I lifted up the wood and placed the doll standing up underneath it, as if reaching up to pick a goose barnacle. The doll is one legged but is able to feed herself, it is a very unlikely situation! As was the chances of each of us being alive as a human being today on this planet, I have heard some very mind blowing comparisons of how unlikely our existence was, the chances of each of us being here and alive today as humans were extremely small. All of these weird and wonderful thoughts filter into my art somehow, often in very unexpected ways. The journey into the unknown is what keeps me making art. I really like going to a place and finding stuff that I would have never imagined being there, and doing something creative with it. I love being nicely surprised by the whole art making process.

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 April, 2012 at 8:39 am

A Happy Story

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The Ennis Street Festival was held last weekend on the 2nd and 3rd of July. Myself and a couple of others from The Altruism Movement (TAM) went to do some art, write some quotes and poetry and give away some art. It was a lovely sunny day, we met in the square. One of the group painted while two of us wrote in chalk on the pavement around the square. There was a Nazi symbol and something negative written on a wall in one corner. I thought that some poetry would be good to transform the space, so I wrote one of Bonnie Quinn Cotter’s poems called “Clean Slate” in the long narrow space under where there was the fascist words and symbol. Then we went to another area of town to write quotes. When I returned I could no longer read the racist comment on the wall, I thought that the bright sun had done something to my eyes. Or had somebody washed the wall?

Today, while I was talking to the artist that had been painting on the square, I mentioned this to her.  She said when I left some man came and asked to use some of her paint. He said he wanted to paint over something. She could not really see what it was from where she was sitting, but he said that from one of the pubs across the square you could see it clearly and it had bothered him for years. So when he saw her painting he asked to borrow her paint so he at last could cover it over.

Written by Marianne Slevin

8 July, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Happenings and interventions

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Wind records

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I made these, well I did not strictly make these, as the wind determined where the drips would land on the cotton. I orchestrated it in a way, by placing sheets of cotton, one at a time under a clothes line while the little hand folded, stitched and painted funnels slowly dripped indigo pigment that was mixed with oil.

So tonight I sewed ten sheets of wind records together to form a kind of book. I love the layers of cotton, it makes me want to climb into the book and go to sleep! Many people fall asleep with a book but how many people fall asleep in a book!

Currently I am trying to make some decisions about how to present and finish this work. Should it be displayed on the floor like an open book, hung from the wall or ceiling or to use the central spine as a large tent pole and open it 360 degrees with lines that you would use for a tent? Sometimes it is hard to make a decision!

This art work was made in 2000 in Doolin where we have returned to live many years later, I feel it is still relevant today, maybe even more so as our climate changes, as I write this there is a gale blowing outside, the “Gallery Closed” sign on the door goes bang bang bang!

Written by Marianne Slevin

22 November, 2009 at 11:27 pm

A travelling piece of silk in Doolin

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Now that I have enough paintings in the secret gallery, I feel free to make some new art work. I’m enjoying making some non painted work again such as this silk wind dancer, Doolin is particularly windy so there is no shortage of movement! It is really relaxing just to sit and watch it. I have brought it around with me for years. One day I took it out of my camera bag in our yurt in Spain and hung it up there and then realised that I had repaired it with some horses’ hair, the strange thing was our yurt was held together with horse hair ropes too! I love those odd moments in life; they seem almost make believe and silly!

Written by Marianne Slevin

21 April, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Happenings and interventions

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Water, some Rose Oil and a Hand

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The moon is reflected in a distant rock pool

 

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Caretakers of the earth not owners

 

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All part of the same thing

 

 

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Little waterfall

 

This morning James set me a challenge. It was to spend one hour in the bathroom with my camera. This challenge James said was to do with the fact that we as humans  like to put ourselves in places and situations where we can just go on auto pilot and hence use minimum effort, this can be good and bad. So doing this challenge forced me to do things that are different from usual. It is also my idea of bliss to spend an hour on my own in the bathroom, but I would not have thought of bringing in my camera so it was even more fun! These photographs relate to earlier interventions of mine, it was really nice to play! It is wonderful to have someone to think of interesting things to do that help you feel creative. Thank you my Muse!

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 January, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Off to search for pigments and drink mint tea in Marrakech

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Just is short blog tonight as we are off of to Marrakech via London tomorrow, cant wait! I wont be writing anything for a week but I hope I will have lots to say and photographs to put up when I come back! I am really looking forward to getting some more indigo pigment and poppy or poppy seed pigment or whatever you would call that lovely deep red colour! I remember the indigo I got there before, it had amazing variations of blues and indigo through it there were even traces of turquoise in it. When I ran out I found some more in Barcelona but is was not so amazing. If anyone knows a good place to get pigments could you please let me know, thank you! Here are some things I made using Indigo Pigment. I also did some time-based word ice melting on a sheet of, you will never guess……indigo pigment!

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Indigo Wind dripped records, intervention at the Secret Gallery

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Words written in indigo pigment,(twice submerged in the sea, once in Barcelona and once in Fanore Co Clare) the Secret Gallery

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Horse Blanket, outer layer wax on cotton painted with Indigo pigment and terracotta earth, the Secret Gallery

Written by Marianne Slevin

1 December, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Wind intervention at The Secret Gallery and Public Art Work by Maeve Collins

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These wind drip drawings were made 8 years ago on this very same clothes-line. Then the sheets of cotton lay on the ground and little paper vessels that I made by stitching old bank statement held the indigo pigment and oil that dripped as the wind blew them dangling from the clothes line. It was a  nice circle to hang them from the same clothesline but this time let them be blown by the wind and dance! I loved the sound they made and the meditative feeling you get from watching the repetitive but ever changing motion as the wind blows the wind dripped drawings; a little dance making the invisible visible.

The cotton moving backwards and forwards and the sound it made reminded me of a Public Art Piece that an Artist and Friend of mine Maeve Collins did in the Square in Ennistymon last summer. Maeve hung some real and elegant bed sheets with mirrors attached reflecting what was happening in the space around them, as they moved backwards and forwards on the sheets, while at the same time played recordings of elderly people talking about life on the island, which Maeve recorded while living on Inisheer. It was a lovely piece the Artist sat with her work to talk with anyone who wished to converse beside the meditative wave of the sheets that had been brought into the town. This is just a snippet as there is a lot more to Maeve’s work that I did not mention. As part of this Public Art Work her recordings also sailed  over the waves to the Aran Islands and there was a third part to this work, a line holding clocks, umbrellas a dress and musical instruments entered the sea at Liscannor, and the gateway to HiBrasil, an island some people say they have seen. I hope to put up some of the Artist’s images of this poetic art work soon, as I am having a little technical trouble today. So have a look in a few days they are well worth it!

 

A little thought I had today

If it is not right for you it is not right for the world!

Written by Marianne Slevin

19 November, 2008 at 3:38 pm