The secret gallery’s blog

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

Archive for the ‘In progress’ Category

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!

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Written by Marianne Slevin

22 January, 2012 at 2:09 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

Organised Chaos

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Work in progress, “Organised Chaos”, mixed media by Marianne Slevin 2010

This is a photograph of a painting that I was just working on. I started it about a month ago and left it, not really knowing where to go next with it. I started it using pencil and pigment on cardboard. There was a drawing of branchlike lines and root-like lines  beneath, our children had drawn something on it (they were allowed!) Then it was painted around the drawing with pigment.

I had been thinking about my art and how maybe I could combine many of the different aspects of the ways I work in one piece, such as working on the idea of  mycelium but ion a freer way that my be more dreamlike and open to include other interests and intuitions. Content and focus can be great but sometimes you got to let go a bit and be more spontaneous and in the moment. I suddenly realized that I was like a painting I started about 14 years ago, but taking it to new places. It was like revisiting a moment in time, but with a different perspective. Now looking around the studio it does kind of knit much of the work together, like a missing link, maybe.

I have started reading about the chaos theory, it is early days yet to say how much or little it relates to my work, but so far it is fascinating and I am also fascinated with quantum physics, particularly an experiment where they discovered atoms behave differently when they are being observed. The one experiment I found is  called Dr. Quantum Double split experiment.  This really leads me to all sorts of wonderings! So what we see is actually changed by us seeing it. Are paintings and other Visual Art changed by those who view it? This is a theory James suggested being a possible reason for certain art works becoming exceptionally famous compared with other works of a similar quality. We noticed that when people came into the gallery a really liked a certain painting, often the next few visitors would also comment on that painting, had the previous viewers actually changed and energized the atoms in the painting by viewing it? And if viewing a piece of art with a positive feeling adds to it and if viewing it with a negative feeling takes from it? Maybe we will do this experiment one day, as James suggested.  Has anyone any thoughts or experiences on this, I would really like to learn more about it, so please feel free to voice them.

Written by Marianne Slevin

27 October, 2010 at 2:36 pm

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Scarab With Woman Pattern

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Work in progress,” Scarab with woman pattern”,  pencil on paper, Marianne Slevin 2010

This image is from a dream I had last night, I was amazed by it in the dream and also on waking! Today I went for a walk with my family along the cliff from Doolin towards the cliffs of Moher, it was spectacular! When we stopped by a large sloping slab of stone after laying down on it for about 5 minutes I picked up a sharp piece that had broken off it and drew something like this onto it. It will be washed away in the next shower of rain, I am sure. However I like this fragility in art and am trying to come to terms with it in life!

I am still working on some jellyfish paintings in the studio, shifting from one material to another can be really refreshing; drawing with the sharp nib of a pencil or even a rock after using oil paint on a kind of loose way can keep things fresh, and surprising.

Written by Marianne Slevin

24 October, 2010 at 4:53 pm

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Jellyfish, a Flying Fish and Coevolution, Moth and Orchid

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Written by Marianne Slevin

7 October, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Mycelium Drawings on Maps

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Mycelium Map 2, ink and pigment on map, Marianne Slevin 2010

Detail of the above, baby starlings feeding

Below:

Mycelium map 1, ink and pigment on an old map, Marianne Slevin 2010

Yesterday a swallow came and sat on this map drawing when in was folded up, it stayed there for about one hour, it was not the one of the baby starlings but close enough!

To be continued

Written by Marianne Slevin

19 May, 2010 at 11:11 pm

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Mycelium Drawing

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Charcoal Pencil on transparent paper, Marianne Slevin, March 2010

I have been painting using different layers for a long time so now I am using the paper to create the layers instead. I am very drawn (excuse the pun!) towards this effect. I used the same paper to make small hand made books before, so some words were fading out underneath other words, this created a random kind of poetry or word combo! I love using materials and certain techniques to create a sense of mystery and kind of orchestrating them! Playing with opposites such as control and allowing things to happen and finding some rare little jigs between them, as apposed to “balance” which for me has the connotation of being a little dull and without much room for sidesteps and deviations.

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 March, 2010 at 5:08 pm

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