The secret gallery’s blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘artists

The tyranny of themes

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Today, I went to see a painting exhibition by Cóilín Rush, in The Courthouse Gallery Ennistymon. I am not an Art critic and I wont pretend to be one! I liked the show, particularly a painting called “Big Trouble in Little China”, which was particularly playful. What grabbed my attention was the Artist’s statement, where they said  they disliked themes, and then went on to say,”….to bend it’s meaning and pervert it’s destiny…”when taking about open submission calls for Artworks where there is a theme.” I think themes sometimes prevent us from seeing the work that Artist’s do when left alone”. I do agree with this artist, and somehow think that because of the Artist’s refusal to pin themselves down too much, I found the show more intriguing, however there did seem to be a secret theme going on! Maybe the one that happens without us labelling it before it is cooked! I thought it was funny because I wrote something a little similar in yesterday’s blog!

The Courthouse gallery is a great creative hub of activity, there is always something going on there, we are really lucky to have it in Ennistymon. There are regular Exhibitions, Artist’s Studios, workshops and classes, and even a Puppet Show coming soon, we hope to go to!


Written by Marianne Slevin

24 October, 2008 at 6:03 pm

The illusive nature of inspiration

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I know nothing about the nature of inspiration, usually when I think I do, it disappears completely! It is mysterious and that is what makes it so appealing. When art is too easily understood or needs to be understood it looses its allure. Clever art that is like some kind of trick or brain tease is not the art I love. No puns, this is one of the reasons that Basho is one of my favourite Haiku poets; because all of his Haiku poems are devoid of all “cleverness” and puns. Saying this, you will probably find one or two in my own work! Though I have not intended to have any.

Often in order to be inspired I have to be searching, as if in the dark going on a journey making awkward often ugly attempts of painting, then over time something happens, each time it feels like it wont, something new and unexpected happens. I am in the middle of one right now and it feels very awkward. It does remind me of giving birth! Paintings are born! You cant really go into it in a half hearted way! The difficult thing with painting may be imbuing it with life and soul. Not necessarily the artists soul, but soul, these are the painting and other pieces of art that have a kind of presence. There can be many different ways of getting there but this kind of describes the road I am on!

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Written by Marianne Slevin

9 September, 2008 at 10:28 am

Risk taking and heart expression

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Lately there has been plenty risk taking and heart expression going on in the studio of the secret gallery! I was painting with our children again, it was great, exhausting but great! It is said that we are all born artists it is as we grow up that allot of us loose it, but Clement Greenberg said that child prodigies exist in other art forms but not visual art. I wonder why he felt that it was different to say music? I am not sure how I feel about it. I wrote an essay on Greenberg and Modernism it was a very long time ago though! I recall him being an advocate of art for arts sake, referring to itself and not the external world, like American Abstract Expressionism. Sometimes this is can be like a more considered form of how a child paints, in a way, but developing it to something beyond haphazard play, or at least being conscious that you are trying to paint like a child! Many of us spend many years trying to learn how to not paint like a child and then we have to start forgetting again! It seems for allot of artists to be an important process; you learn and then you shuffle around what you want to remember and what you want to forget! You change the scales of importance in a way, this bending and flexing is often very playfully. This begs the question does age or maturity have much to do with visual art? If a child makes a beautiful painting, does it mean less than if an adult painted it?  How much does a child have to express? What about reincarnation then?! if it does exist, I wonder if the great artists of the past are making visual art now?!

The paintings  we have been working and playing on are not finished yet, but they are looking promising. I have worked with many different elements before; including doing set ups in nature where the wind or rain made the marks but now we have children and they love making all sorts of marks! The three of us work on the canvas. I like taking risks with my work and pushing it beyond where is has been. Painting with the children has been a really interesting direction for me. It is also a careful balancing act between keeping them happy and enjoying painting and working with their marks to help it come to a new level; they have something I don’t have and I have something that they don’t have so, we are a good team! I have the years, plenty to express and years of practice! They have the have the magic marks that are not self conscious; they are very free. With painting sometimes you have to risk totally loosing it to make something better. One of the paintings I was working on I liked but know it had further to go I offered it to our children, with hesitation, allowing them to change its direction forever! The other painting is looking a little bit like a Cy Twombly, I love his work, to put it very simply, it is like some of the most beautiful scribbles and dribbles you have ever seen, powerful and delicate at the same time!  I wonder will anyone come and kiss it as one woman did to a Cy Twombly painting!

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Written by Marianne Slevin

1 September, 2008 at 2:19 pm