The secret gallery’s blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘art

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.

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Written by Marianne Slevin

8 July, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Happenings and interventions

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Self Portrait with Lungs and Plants

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“Self Portrait with Lungs and Plants”  Oil and pigments on Canvas,  Marianne Slevin 2010

So I still am alive and well! My no tech week seemed to trigger off a long spell of almost no tech. I think once we get out of the habit of something then it can be hard to do it again. I think a lot about making art is habit, so it is really important to develop good habits, as the more we do the  better we get. Sometimes we are not in the “mood” but that can change once we don’t expect to be” perfect” (in our own our own eyes anyway). Surprising our selves can be one of the best things we can do in our art practice, why are we so afraid of the unknown? Art is a journey some times difficult sometimes easy but always exploratory. The painting above was a journey that took many twists and turns, and surprised me many times. Yesterday I came to the end of that particular journey, I had been trying to unite the figure (myself) and the rest of the painting, and finally I think I did.

Written by Marianne Slevin

10 August, 2010 at 9:03 am

The Critical Mass

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Outside The Funny Little Gallery, Doolin photograph by Marianne Slevin

Artists often work on the periphery of society, rearranging or dismantling border controls and crossings, shifting boundaries and boulders  and generally being a bit discontent with the current situation. Somehow the word “content” and the word “artist” don’t really go together. This discontentment and unease could be one of the reasons that the general public who are not in this creative battle find much contemporary art to be not what they are looking for. This “not what is being looked for” is a problem for artists; as in, people coming to view art with a preconceived idea and the art has to fit into their idea of what art should be, for them. If art is to conform to the wants of the masses, how is art to grow? This discontentment and unease is a catalyst for growth in art, like an athlete, an artist will push beyond the comfort zone, questioning and creating and developing, as if they were muscles being pushed to their limits.

We have “The Funny Little Gallery” on the road towards The Cliffs of Moher, you can imagine the traffic! yet the only people who call in are artists or have a artist in their family and/or have a big appreciation of art. This is a tiny percentage of the people who pass by every day. The masses drive to the Cliffs and do the Aran Islands. The majority of people feel alienated from art, unless it is something that they can relate to, such as a scene of a landscape  that they like or something nostalgic or sentimental. This gap between the people who appreciate art and the people who don’t is gapping. There should not be such a gap, there is something wrong; as everyone is creative. I feel things are changing now, but in the past there was nothing taught in school since about The Impressionists. That’s about where the appreciation of art stopped, in certain places.

It is part of the job of the artist to take the audience into consideration, but not to be stifled by the audience. It is a two way thing; artists need to take a step towards the public and the public needs to take a step towards the artist. Many artists and collaborating groups are doing this and have  been doing this for many years. My own step is opening up our house to the public and welcoming anyone who wishes to come inside into an informal setting, also by talking about my work to the people who visit in a way that you don’t need an art education to understand. My mission is to start filling the gapping void between the art world and the rest of the world, even in a tiny way. When the critical mass reaches a certain number or ratio then the general public will love art too!

Written by Marianne Slevin

15 June, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Practicing Honesty While you Art!

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Just imagine that every time that we felt blocked or uninspired  it was simply that we weren’t being ourselves. We think all kinds of stuff that isn’t true, such as what we think is expected of us and what other people think, I do anyway. My Husband and Muse, James says that when I am not flowing it is probably because I am not being honest: I am trying to hold certain things back and working so hard at blocking what I don’t want to think or talk about that I cant flow. This would make sense for art too. Censoring so much that the creative muscle just gives up through exhaustion.

Many of us have a stupid notion that we are not good enough so we may think that what we do in an very honest way can’t be very good so we try to be “better” then that. Everyone is good enough it is just realizing that. We often dont really know what we are doing but if we try to see inside of ourselves and look at who we really are then it is bound to lead somewhere. It is often the pieces of art or scraps of creativity that we cringe at and don’t want to show anybody that can be the most interesting, not the  bland mediocre ones that we like to show the world instead. It reminds me of photographs of ourselves; the ones that don’t really look like us we  like but the ones that have captured us, we shy away from. Truth can be a little uncomfortable sometimes. The good thing about it however is that there is an endless source.

Some questions to ask ourselves that might help;

What do I really feel this minute?

Who am I this minute?

What do I think is missing in the world right now?

What could I do being me the way I am this minute, feeling how I feel, do to help fill what is missing in the world/my world?

Thinking outside of the box is really good for freeing up possibilities. For example many days I could absorb myself in painting but today I could feel different and need to do something that I have never done before. It could take a little while to know the answer, but for me I know when I start to feel teary that that is the one, one of them anyway. Today, I miss beauty, I think in our society we have forgotten about how beautiful things make people feel better. Maybe I like to paint and draw what I think is beautiful, such as horses and trees. What everyone sees as beautiful is different. What do you see as beautiful?

Written by Marianne Slevin

5 February, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art, Uncategorized

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Releasing the Grip

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There are many things that we believe about ourselves that keep us in a nice neatly wrapped up package of what we call ourselves; such as I am a vegetarian, I am good with horses, I am good at cleaning, I am never angry! The truth can be a little different sometimes! Often for the sake of easiness we will put ourselves into a box. I am a painter sometimes and a person who does different sorts of creative things, and if I try to make too much sense out of what I do it starts to vanish.

The pressure that comes from trying to be a professional artist aged 30 something can lead to feeling that by now I should know what I am doing. I should be clear and concise and be producing large bodies of work all finished and ready for hanging neatly in a gallery. That the work should have an undeniable style and theme. Now the truth is more messy then that and hopefully less boring too. The truth for me is that certain themes come and go over the years, that there are several different styles and every piece of art I make is different, this could be to do with the fact that I nearly always start a painting with pretending that it is the first painting I ever did, and seeing what emerges. I think that when you see an artist’s work that all looks very similar it probably has come from a more conscious place in the artist, and that is a valid way to make art too. I think that often galleries and the audience are more comfortable with it. This is probably why so many artists feel that they should make matching work, it looks much more together on an application.

I often intend to make a series of drawings or paintings, but after about two pieces I have lost the desire to continue, it just feels fake. Though this may happen naturally over time if it is not forced. A few times with certain types of art work I have made a series of them, such as painted text scrolls, but when I try to make a piece similar to other work it just feels like a clone and not the real thing! How ever this could all change and this time next year I could be working on “Wind blow tree No.105”!

Written by Marianne Slevin

30 January, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art, Uncategorized

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Glimmer

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Christal in the window of The Secret Gallery             Photograph by Marianne Slevin

I feel like  I need to eat about 10 Mars bars before I could do anything that involved standing up or moving. The winter has left my blood feeling thin and generally feeling a bit washed out. This mornings activities involved looking for a hair brush, 6 hours later, no hair brush, but a room that has a little more order and a lot less mouse droppings! I have not promised Saint Anthony money as usual when I loose things, due to the fact that this seems like a bit of a money making racket set up by the church. This afternoon I might give some money to a charity and ask Saint Anthony to find the precious hair brush. School for the little ones starts tomorrow and “Mother” is being put through her paces!

Tulip starting to sprout in Recycled Juice Carton  Marianne Slevin 2010

The “glimmer” that I have called this blog post is a feeling deep inside of hope or Spring, as if there is a stirring. After the cold spell now bulbs are starting to shoot the smoothest spikes of green. I am starting to write a list of exhibitions that I am going to apply for. Last night, I tidied the studio and made space for new things to happen there. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the simple tasks of tidying and preparing the studio and searching for opportunities and sending off applications are almost as important as doing the art itself.

How do we make sure when we feel that stirring of new growth gather within us, so that when we have tidied and found the hairbrushes and the paint brushes take it a step further and actually create some art and not let it get lost along the way? There are those moment where we can choose to do something creative or we can decide to let it slip away and do something like watch a movie, browse on the internet or wash the dishes, the list is endless. the car is calling,”clean me” my stomach screams “feed me”! But my sketch book needs me! Or should I say I need my sketch book.

Just found the hair brush, now I must think of a charity.  I cant find the cable to plug in my camera now. Great! James just found that. Now what shall is do with those glimmers? Perhaps the sketch book is a good place to nurture them before putting them in large open spaces. So the inner art critic does not get a chance to be too scathing before they have matured to a stage where they are a little more developed and also it is allot less daunting to approach a sketch book then something more large scale and begging to be “finished”. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting your ideas or having them just in your head. I would be interested in hearing how other people keep those glimmers glowing and growing. Please share your stories and tips for the survival of the glimmer.

Written by Marianne Slevin

17 January, 2010 at 8:06 pm

A dance between north and south and east and west

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The square or rectangle has its own north, south, east and west. Every time I find myself facing yet another blank canvas, board or piece of paper it is a new experience for me. There are also certain similarities even the very first paintings and drawings I ever did seem to repeat themselves over and over in different guises. Today as I painted layers of semi-transparent pigment and varnish certain things that I had forgotten came back to me like how I like to go between the  conscious part of my brain and the unconscious, juxtaposing serendipity with decision making, and attempting to get the best of both worlds. It feels like a kind of a dance between all the different aspects of what we call human beings; the right and left side of the brain, the conscious and the unconscious mind, the soul, the experiences we have been through, the now and also a search for something new or undiscovered.

That which is new or undiscovered can seem ugly or uncomfortable at first. So sometimes we retreat from that, covering it over with something more recognisable and safe. This can be a huge temptation, doing what we know we are fairly good at and stirring away from the dark unknown. This dark unknown can look frighteningly raw and naive, and lacking some of the sophistication and finesse that we might hope are work would have. The funny thing is that after I have  struggled and danced all over the page with leaps of faith and playfulness as well as concentration and sensitivity at times, our wonderful 4 year old daughter said to me, while looking at my painting “I could do that couldn’t I ?” I replied, “yes of course you could”. Picasso said something like, “ children spend their childhoods trying to learn how to paint like adults and adults spend their lives trying to paint like children”.

One of the things that I have been doing lately is going back to pieces and reworking them, committing to them, as my Husband and Muse suggested. I think there maybe something in this! I do have a particular fondness of the sprint method of art making! but who knows I may become a long distance walker too! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

8 December, 2009 at 11:51 pm