The secret gallery’s blog

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

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Hexafluorosilicic acid, a mouthful

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Bamboo leaves beside the CourthouseFor the past eight months I have been researching fluoride, officially known as hexafluorosilicic acid, which is quite a mouthful to say. In fact, when you say it to Google it doesn’t understand at all and comes up with many hilarious suggestions, some too rude to repeat! My husband was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and I was doing some research about it when I came across an article about fluoride. I read something that changed my life forever, since then we only use well water for all our drinking and cooking. We had been drinking tap water from the mains for 5 years since we came back to Ireland from Spain. My husband had been a long distant walker, exceptionally fit, slim and healthy when we lived in Spain. Since moving to Ireland we both put on a lot of weight. In April this year my husband suffered a massive heart attack, he was soaking in the bath when it started. I am extremely happy to say that he is now sitting across from me looking incredibly well and slim and healthy.

From the research that I have done I feel confident in saying that exposure over a five year period, through ingestion and dermatological absorption and inhalation of fluoride, lead to my husbands heart attack aged 39, as well as him getting diabetes type 2. The Irish scientist Declan Wraugh produced this peer reviewed Public Health Investigation of Epidemiological data on Disease and Mortality in Ireland related to Water Fluoridation and Fluoride Exposure (download report pdf). Declan Wraugh has spent the past 2 years working on this totally out of his own pocket, while our government never funded one study about the health impacts of fluoride on the Irish public, when the onus was on them to do so. The Girl Against Fluoride has been doing an incredible job with her campaign bringing pubic awareness to this crucial issue.  She has an upcoming court case against the Irish government about their policy of mandatory fluoridation of the public water supply. Since February 2013, Adrienne Murphy’s investigative journalism in Hot Press has been uncovering many urgent issues regarding the fluoride. It is interesting to note that none of these people were invited to the recent fluoride debate on Prime Time.

Since February 2013, I have been making artwork about fluoride, from both personal and scientific perspectives. I started the work subconsciously, then became very conscious about what I was doing through research. I will be showing some of this work in an upcoming exhibition with GUAC called Feasting on the Wind, in The Courthouse Gallery,  Ennistymon, Co. Clare. Opening on Friday 25th October at 8pm. The exhibition continues until 21st November. The work that will be on display is a collection of “Letters” made with ink and a quill on Japanese paper, combining drawing and writing. A dress that belonged to our daughter and hair from our son embroidered to spell out the words Sarin Nerve Gas Fluoride, this refers to the recent discovery about Syria and the hair samples that tested positive for sarin nerve gas, being indistinguishable from fluoride. If most people in Ireland had their hair tested for sarin nerve gas it would test positive. I feel very protective as a parent and this piece is about this.

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Written by Marianne Slevin

15 October, 2013 at 2:40 pm

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Inner Thoughts as a Bamboo Forest

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View of Bamboo Installation at “Vulnerable” by Marianne Slevin at The Secret Gallery October 2012

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One of the rooms in the exhibition “Vulnerable” was this bamboo installation with text and the sound of a hidden Tibetan singing bowl.  On every leaf I wrote one thought about myself that I found hard to say, they are my own suppressed feelings, growing up as a woman in Ireland. I had started my research for this work far away, both in time and physical distance, but in the end I had to look at myself, my own vulnerabilities. The biggest mistake I could make in presenting work about the mistreatment of women in other cultures would be to not look at my own culture and inevitably myself.

In order to be happy, humans have a built in bias toward what they are and do being better than others. I think we have this bias culturally as well as individually. Maybe if we are aware that this bias exists occasionally we can peer around its veil and see we are no better (or worse) than anyone else or any other culture.

What I found surprising was that my own suppressed thoughts and feelings were not just my own, but in  many cases they were shared by other, and when I exposed myself in this light I found that others were quick to share their own inner feelings in return. It was a kind of fast forward exercise in honesty and sharing with others what you may only share with those close to you or maybe nobody at all.

There is so often an unrealistic striving for perfection in society which leaves us feeling unworthy and simply not good enough, this effects everything from aesthetics to emotions. We try to make  sense and order out of just about anything! I wanted to make some work that made people feel good, by allowing people to see a glimpse of my own vulnerability. Maybe seeing it visually described brings home the enormity of the stuff we feel we have to carry around with us all the time, and perhaps it is so common that is should no longer be a weight on us.

Written by Marianne Slevin

30 December, 2012 at 10:30 am

The Power Of Local

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It has been a long long time, and my tech skills have got rusty to say the least. I tried to post this on The Altruism Movement website but it ended up here as I could not remember how to post it on that site, I hope I find out soon. On Sunday 7th August some of TAM (The Altruism Movement) Caitriona Sheedy, Sinead O’Connell and myself met in Ennistymon at “The Power of Local”.  As it was raining we could not do what we had planned to do but instead did this boat sailing in a very large puddle in the centre of the town.

It was fun and great to be able to do something with the children, as art and children don’t always mix very well. There were actually three different performances going on in the square at the same time. Most of the artists were out in force for the festival that lasted  for four days.  I mentioned a while ago that we had been planning to leave our boats in some floods or puddles for a while so this was a perfect opportunity for it. We left the boats for passers by to see and take if they wished. Some other children played with them which was great. I think when the flood disappeared people could not really see them and they go run over. I picked up the flattened boats the next morning off the road, I probably should have followed our sons advice and brought them home.

Written by Marianne Slevin

5 September, 2011 at 10:25 am

Oh F*** People Are Looking!

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An artist spends much time making their invisible world visible, and for long periods of time this stays invisible to most of the word, either it is not ready to be seen or the rest of the world is not ready to see it.  When one catches up with the other and the art emerges out into the wider world a strange thing happens. Suddenly the artist realizes that people are looking at their work, the walls of their studio have turned into crystal and every thing they ever made stands bare and alone without the shelter of secrecy.  This is the day the artist has long awaited but what happens now?

Why did I take such rushed photographs of my work? Why did I group my work like that, it looks so disjointed, why did I leave that writing the way I did without re-reading it? But most of all why did I waste so much time not believing in myself as a real artist? Worrying that my work would neither be the sort of art that the majority people would hang in their homes or ever be shown in the art museums and respected art establishments, but fall somewhere between the two in the great void.

One answer is to never shrink your talent to suit your immediate surroundings, you may not live in New York but there can be great artists living and working in tiny places too, can’t there? Do not rely on the fed back of strangers or even worse the lack of interest, it is no reflection on your work. I have come to learn that in many places  many people don’t care about art.

One day out of the blue many people start to look at your work, are you serious about your work now? Nothing has changed your work was just as real before other people started to notice. It can be hard to keep your courage when even mediocre galleries turn you down, every application comes back months later saying you did not get the award/bursary/exhibition this time but do try again next time. You and a few others really believe in your work, but why does it take so long for other people to respect it? I have some ideas but I don’t really know. The art world is predominantly a fickle world. Commercial galleries have to make money to stay open so they have to sell art, and to sell art the artist often has to start to imitate themselves so people feel secure about what they are buying.  If your work does not fit neatly into a box then people have not the time or energy to work out if it is of any value so they move swiftly on to the next artist for there are always plenty more artists.

So don’t wait till the rest of the work gives you permission to feel like a real artist. As my husband and muse, James advised me many years ago if you want something then pretend you have it already, so if you want to be a well respected artist then pretend you already are and it will be much easier and quicker for everyone else to realize it if you realize it first. What would a well respected artist do ?

Written by Marianne Slevin

8 May, 2011 at 4:19 pm

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The Artist’s Sketchbook for Bonnie Quinn Cotter

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Silence of early morning, interrupted by a bird.

I am guessing a magpie, but I do not know my bird sounds.

However, I am in the mood and mindset for guessing this morning.

Everything feels a little less harsh, where all the pieces of memories and sights and smells and thoughts infuse.

To make a misty hopeful feeling you imagine you could build with, like fantastic floating rocks.

This fairytale creation, fed from those first perfectly chosen stones.

Was it me that placed them there or was it the universe,

It must have been, I almost forgot!

Poem by Marianne Slevin

Written by Marianne Slevin

13 March, 2011 at 12:35 pm

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Exhibition in the Blue Frog Ennistymon

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A5 Post card sized works for “Trasna” From the Mycelium Earth Regeneration Series

One of the above, Ink and pigment on a Map, from The Mycelium Earth Regeneration Series, 2010

So Far, 2011 has started off well with two exhibitions.  The first one has just come down, “Trasna” in The Courthouse Gallery, a small works exhibition which James and I both had some art work in. This show was curated by Maeve Collins and Marie Connole, it comprised of around 200 A5 size works, they all had a reserve price of 40 euros. I think this was a great idea; to have an exhibition of affordable art , and that every artist’s work was the same price to begin with. Pricing work can be a dilemma, if you charge too little you worry people will think less of it and if you charge more it may be too much for people to be able to give. I decided to increase my prices a bit when I realized I was undervaluing my work, and that even if I sold all my work I still couldn’t support myself!  As I haven’t increased my prices for about 15 years!

The next is an exhibition of my most resent oil on canvas paintings entitled “Amazing Nature”, it is on till the end of January. There are 9 paintings in total hanging on the ground floor, where there is a very charming cafe with an open fire, a children’s table and lots of board games for these rainy windy west of Ireland days. This Cafe and Art Venue is a great addition to Ennistymon.  Some of the paintings in the exhibition are on my new website http://www.marianneslevin.com which James did such a brilliant job designing  for me, thank you James!

Written by Marianne Slevin

16 January, 2011 at 1:57 pm

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Mycelium Map Works

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Mycelium Maps series “Aroha” Marianne Slevin 2010

 

 

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Mycelium Map Series “ Red Lungs” Marianne Slevin 2010

 

These two map pieces above sat for several months awaiting completion today with the help of Svenja’s red ink she left me, I finished them both. On Friday I left one that I had finished several months ago into the framers in Galway, I cant wait to see what it is like when it is framed. My plan for the winter is to apply for a solo exhibition and work towards that. The piece above is on a map James and i found in a market in London. The word Aroha repeated over and over means love in Maori, a New Zealand woman sent a little heart with the word Aroha on it after visiting our Galley, such a lovely couple they were. The pink sandals belong to our daughter, they caught my eye and I really wanted to draw them. Apparently mycelium reaches up after we have walked over the ground to clear up any debris we may leave behind us! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

19 September, 2010 at 6:35 pm

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