The secret gallery’s blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘artists

All Returns Together ART

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It’s a new year and I am full of new energy and intentions for writing my blog. After such a long pause that I am having quite some trouble with remembering how do do it. I have been writing in my new sketch book and thought I would start by sharing my first page with you. They are called daily artists statements and inspired by the I Ching and perhaps there will be 64 different statements by the end of the year.

1. All Returns Together

I like art making for many reasons, for one, it has no definite starting point, like writing does. I even write on my art in random places. You don’t start at one corner of the work and work your way the the opposite corner, neither physically or conceptually.

A million things can effect the work to greater or lesser extents. The artist is a filter of ideas. Raw ideas come along during the day and night, they collide and merge with older ideas, they settle and work away like a slow cooker while the artist gets on with what ever the artist has to get on with. When the time comes to make something resembling art, the artist trusts their own inner process and works without trying to recall the ideas. Over time the ideas develop and become so much part of the artist that there is no need to think about them during the process of art making. It is more a case of feeling and listening.

Changing Lines

Listening to the weather and sounds of nature

All of a sudden hailstones!

Staring at my work in the studio,

Thoughtless and silent and still

Even my wellington boots have stopped keeping out the cold,

I think its time to move!

Written by Marianne Slevin

9 January, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Art as Altering Terminal Relationships

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Photograph by Marianne Slevin, Liscannor Pier, Co Clare 2012

Lately I have been writing up so many proposals and having to condense my art into a few words that it has done something funny to my brain. I was also influenced by a TED talk by Sebastian Wernicke who condensed 1,000 TED talks into 6 words. This was a funny exercise so I thought I would try to do it with art. There are so many different sorts of art but what holds them all together what is the common denominator?

New ways of seeing the world brought to its final conclusion could be seen as altering terminal relations.

Altering: because an artist endeavors to create different and personal ways of seeing the world we live in.

Terminal: because an artist challenges limitations, boundaries and  changes endings, and the final outcome of things. In this context artists challenge preconceived notions about reality, breaking up static and fixed ideas through their inventions and creations.

Relations: because artists explore the relationships between things, whether through materials and or concepts. Nothing exists purely on its own, but is a stream of interconnected relationships.

ATR doesn’t spell ART but artist’s always see things differently so why would it!

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please write a comment with your words on what art is, in a few words. Try 3 words!

Written by Marianne Slevin

21 January, 2012 at 12:37 pm

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The Art Of Positive Influences And Support

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Prayer flags in German and English, indigo on recycled cotton trousers

Art work by Svenja Seegers and Marianne Slevin, Kilshanny 2010

Sometimes you meet or see another artist’s work that relates so strongly to yours that it could have come from you. It is both a relief to find someone on your path but it can be a bit disconcerting. Sometimes you can find yourself not doing something you would have done because it is too similar to the other artists work, you might have started it before them but they realized their project, you left yours unfinished. Now their’s is hanging in a prestigious gallery. Or you fear that if you look at artist’s work that is similar to your own that it will influence your work too much. My husband brought up an interesting question about it. He said it seems when artists talk about being influenced by deceased artists work it is talked about positively, but when they talk about being influenced by contemporary artists it is seen as a bad thing. This seems quite true for some reason. Some of my biggest influences would have come from my art college friends. Not so much what our work looked like but our philosophies about art formed and grew together in some ways. We were all living in the same city at the same time, not only going to college and studying art together  but socializing together, talking for hours about art and life almost every day for several years. It was a wonderful environment for creativity.  But at one time or another you have to live again outside of that cosy world so you have plenty of material to work with, it is not just output, but you are refilling that inspiration tank. It is like having all the tools and skills without having experiences in life to take from.

There is something to be taken from this close community of artists that many of us loose when we leave college. Life takes over, many great things happen but for many their contact with other artists is on the sparse side. For me I live with a wonderful muse who has encouraged me to make art for the last almost 7 years, otherwise I would have probably stopped. A couple of months ago I started an Artist’s group that meets up regularly and it reminds me of being back in college, drinking tea and coffee and talking passionately about what art we are going to make. It is an organic type of group, growing and changing. It started out being about artists making art work including poetry and text in the public spaces that seem neglected both urban and in the landscape. This is still the main focus of the group but having a supportive network of other artists is a wonderful thing. One of the other benefits of working in  a group is when you are working in a public space on your own can seem like a daunting and sometimes embarrassing challenge, but when there are a few of you doing it it feels a lot safer and less embarrassing.

We have all come from different art backgrounds and work in different ways, but even though we have just started there is already a sense of harmony between the group and huge potential for growth. We are open to sharing ideas and collaborating to make projects that bigger and more far reaching then any one of us could do alone. We wish to continue our own solo practices while having the opportunity to work with other creative people when we wish to. It is definitely a time to join forces and encouraging creativity in others rather then competing with each other and owning ideas.

A wise lecturer in College many years ago, called Mick Wilson told us some truths about contemporary art practice. He said we better think creatively about the whole of our art practice not just the actual art we make, but that we can’t relay on selling our art alone to make a living, but we need  to be creative and inventive about the way we are artists too. He asked us all what we planned to do when we left college. I remember having some very naive plan to have a studio in some castle grounds where the visitors would come in and  see and buy my art work. We may not get our studio in the castle but on a realer level we can help ourselves by creating a network of like-minded individuals and getting our art out without waiting to be invited or at least as well as being invited to exhibit in our chosen galleries.

Written by Marianne Slevin

24 May, 2011 at 10:07 pm

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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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

Wonderful Nature And The Inner Art Critic

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“Dazzled by Red Cabbage,” photographs by Marianne Slevin

Today, I am going to begin to write a little bit about, how some of my paintings or other art pieces come about. Well, just about everything that I am anyway aware of, effects my art work! That which I put in and also that which I omit. What is left out of an art work often says as much as what is in it. The art making process is a sort of distillery of time, space and experience. Sifting through the river bed at a rapid speed, honing in when there is a sparkle as not to miss anything precious.

Over time our specific areas of interest become more developed, embracing new ideas that fit in with the growing picture. I have always loved nature, now that love of nature is finding nature in all sorts of places, such as the kitchen.

There are many parts to this art making beast, but it may be helpful for them all to join hands and cooperate. Many artists talk as if their inner art critic is a dreadful unruly beast that they would be better off without, and perhaps they are right, but perhaps our inner art critic could be useful if we listened to them and gave them a little of our time, maybe they are just angry cause we think we know it all.

May I suggest a meeting with the inner art critic; a constructive interview. Hear what they have to say, and have a conversation, debate and put your side forward too. This may stop future torment in the studio mid movement! Which is far worse and hurtful. Put that dreadful little voice to rest for good or take some advice that could be worth taking. Grab it by the horns over a coffee or Jasmin tea! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually made peace with our inner art critic?

Written by Marianne Slevin

16 March, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Personal Statement

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My art practice and everyday life can blur into one another so much that it is impossible to separate them. I  often use everyday materials that are already in my life but somehow call me to create something with them, such as brown paper bags turned into poppy seed heads, a broken umbrella, the biker leathers James gave me for my 34th birthday. One day I put on these leathers and my back went for no apparent reason, we both thought that I needed to make some art with these leathers, some healing needed to be done, my back recovered!

My own art journey travels to the invisible and tries to make it visible and overlooked reconsidered and repositioned. I like to combine things which are rarely seen together; relocating them, such as painted words on clothes, both clothes for humans and in the past horses. I often use text in my art practice and see words as having a lot of power, like prayer flags.

However I do not limit myself to making or recreating objects solely, I move freely from the flatter lands of painting and drawing, printing, collage and photography and into the rolling hills of solid object land, I also enter the disappearing and reappearing land of video from time to time. As well as the land, sea and sky itself with environmental and time-based works. Sometimes these all overlap.

James Slevin is both my partner in life and my muse. In the past it was usual for male artists to have a female muses. We work together, I make, but he somehow sees from a distance with more clarity where the piece is going and guides it  in a very gentle and perceptive manner, not changing its destiny but helping it to fully reach it.  

(This statement is to go with my resent work, which is hand made objects and instillation art, though it is connected to my painting I have a separate statement for my painting written by  a great friend and art writer.)

Written by Marianne Slevin

27 November, 2008 at 11:15 pm