Posts Tagged ‘Alan Watts’
“Day Two of feeding the birds on a stone wall” Ink, dew and text on Japanese Paper Marianne Slevin November 2014
I have always loved loose work, scribbles and splurges such as Cy Twombly’s work, almost looking like the image got washed up on some artists paper or canvas by a wave. Early influences were expressionism and abstract expressionism such as Jackson Pollock, Land Art, Haiku poetry, where the poet merges with its subject so much they become one, Eastern philosopher and interpreter Alan Watts. Then I found John Cage’s visual art, Miceahangelo Pistolleto, Arte Povera, The Brazilian artists of the 50s and 60s such as Lygia Pape working for social change. Performance Artist Marina Abramovic, The ‘Beat’ writer Jack Kerouac and Aboriginal artists such as Judy Watson Napangardi and Jazz music, and that’s just the main characters!
Humanity tends to divide, separate and compartmentalize everything, I am drawn towards these rifts and gullies between things. Where East meets West, where formalism meets process, where art meets life and where intention meets the unknown. Performance comes into my process but I am not strictly a performance artist. I love the dark room but I am not really a photographer, I love the direct yet unexpected results you can achieve through printmaking, but I am not one for heavy presses. I prefer spontaneous in situ ways of working. However there are aspects of the dark room and the printing press in my work. I hack, invent, and use life around me to make images. I make unseen things in my environment visible and they develop in front of my eyes like a photograph, I also print with living things around me whether in the fridge or the garden. I use the elements, my environment whether inner or outer. My sense of self as the artist expands out into the universe around me meeting with the dew that settles on the grass and the leak that trickles through the window. I am a gentle opportunist borrowing whatever is around me to play with and grow with.
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!
“Angel” Work in progress, oil on canvas Marianne Potterton 2009
These are the two paintings that I am working on at the moment in thee studio. The one above I think is finished or very nearly, but you never know, I might do something more to it. I had an urge to put it up in the Secret Gallery yesterday, but I think I will wait till it dries!
Work in progress, “No Formula”, oil on canvas Marianne Potterton 2009
Thank goodness for spell check! I must go and spell it right in the painting now! This is a bit bolder than my usual paintings, I think. It is a sort of attempt to paint in the moment, a sort of meditation, as Alan Watts once said about meditation “Digging the present, grooving with the eternal now!”
Much art seems to be latching on to the past, artists repeating what they know they are good at, but they are not in it any longer. When I go to an exhibition and all of the work looks the same I wonder has the artist just found a formula ? Of course there are exceptions to this, where the art can look very similar but the artist was still open and aware while making it. Such as Mark Rothko, I just could not do it though; do the same sort of thing for years. I even find it hard to finish a painting without wanting to paint it differently the next time I go back to it ! This unknown territory can feel a bit uncomfortable because we have never been there before, it can be a bit hit and miss, but what can come out of these adventures have more life in them than art we make on the journeys that we have repeated with only slight deviations!
Sometimes children make more sense. Our two year old son, just said “I have some dirt in my rainbow,” he meant eyebrow! but today I feel like I have some dirt in my rainbow! My car dug it’s heals in and refused to move away from the bank in Ennistymon, I had just given it a rest for a couple of days and maybe it was insulted that I had thought of it as a gas guzzling monster! Or maybe it was my karma. I have been listening to some Eastern philosophy podcasts by Alan Watts. James, my partner recommended them to me, they are fantastic lectures that have been recorded many years ago.
Today, the lecture I listened to, described us living in a phantasmagoria! What a great word and world! In another lecture Alan Watts talked about the pitfalls of announcing that you are on a trying-to-do-something-good path! Basically all your karma comes quickly, very quickly! the trick is not to announce it to the world or even yourself! If you act without thinking about it first you can avoid this negative karma! I think the car breaking down today as an example of this: I said that, “I want to reduce my carbon foot-print and drive the car less”, the next time I drove it, it brakes down! So more action less thinking! Today I am making no claims to do anything better! At least, not that I am going to mention to myself!