The secret gallery’s blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Rising tide lines

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Yesterday, we drove through such a deep flood, that the head lights of our Lada Niva filled with water, and made them look like goldfish bowls! Apparently about 70% of the earth is covered in water. Our own bodies are also about 70% water, I think. What happens when the ice melts with global warming? If the ratio of land to water changes on the earth, what will become of our own physical bodies? Are we not also part of nature? Shall we float or drown or perhaps go else where!

I just had a realization today that I have had a preoccupation with waterlogged fields, for years. Probably from before I ever heard of global-warming. I have done many paintings of unexpected objects under the sea; from beds to bulbs, trees and horses! I have done instillations of drowning/floating hand made objects too.

After an unexpectedly inspiring visit, to a certain  particularly miserable supermarket, sometime early in the early hours, an image of an instillation came in to my mind of a clean empty supermarket, in the open fridge section there was an arrangement of beautifully hand painted milk cartons. They were paintings of dripping sea and sky in what looked like oil paint, but considering they were painted in recycled milk cartons, they were painted with a lot of care and love. The cartons had plastic screw caps so they looked like they could still be full of milk, maybe they were! The flash of an image I had was a perfect antidote to the previous ‘real’ visit to the supermarket.

James suggested getting lots school children to paint one carton each, brilliant! so we are off the find the empty supermarket and ask allot of school children to paint their own interpretations of global-warming and the sea on a milk or fruit juice cartons. Getting children involved in this collaborative project would be great, I also love the idea of doing something to raise environmental awareness with art, both bringing our attention to how much stuff we are creating to simply be thrown away as well as the huge issue of global-warming!

Peace to all!  

Written by Marianne Slevin

11 October, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Laying a line of Mother of pearl along the garden path

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Today, I suddenly started to tidy up the garden, it had got pretty neglected looking. A month or so ago, I had put a kind of trail/ladder of mother of pearl shells and driftwood down the garden path. Gradually it had turned from a line to a tide line to a messy bird picked, children kicked, moss covered and even seaweed-like, green balls of slime infested path, with some random shells and driftwood on it!

I cleared (I am trying not to use weed killer, my hands have aged about 50 years in a single day!) and edged the path and washed the shells and relayed the trail, starting this time with oyster shells, then driftwood going up as far as the little tree, and up to a branch! Then I lay the Mother of Pearl shells, it was such a meditative experience; gathering the shells then washing them and laying them out carefully. It felt like a lovely ritual, I would like to do it once a month or so.

Even after the big tidy up, the path was still a little messy and mossy, and wet and ended in a Turlough, complete with strange green slime balls!(Does anyone know what these rootless, spreading, weird things are?) Placing these perfect, beautiful little shells on top of natures contributes of it’s persistence and constant reclaiming and growing back over the man made path, both gestured at poetry and absurdity! This felt like a meditative ritual, creating a space to be very quiet and work in a gentle way with nature. When doing my interventions I like to introduce unexpected objects to a place, they tend to be playful and often quirky: changing the way we see things by putting them in a different context.   

Written by Marianne Slevin

7 October, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Art and part time insanity

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Being an artist is a little bit like “controlled insanity” or “part time insanity”! Functioning reasonably normally to survive and maintain a calm exterior! However when it comes to making the art, normality is simply disregarded! Perceptions of reality are challenged and rearranged.The imagination buttons are pressed on fully. There are no rules to make the journey a little safer or predetermined. Bravery and honesty are just some of the requirements that are taken for granted when making art.

I find myself often simultaneously diving inwards and outwards; into the deepest parts of me and out into the universe and seeing which correlates. For example,  something I see in the landscape strikes a chord a resonates deep within me, then I start to pursue this. There needs to be a sense of discovery while I am making the art; to feel like I am making some kind of sense out of chaos. Or learning about our own nature from the nature we inhabit and are part of.

I am fascinated by the cycles in nature and natural order and spiritual science. Much of my interventions take on a quasi-scientific approach, sitting on the knife-edge between poetry and absurdity. I don’t fully understand why I do them, though they speak from the part of me that is in awe and amazed and that cannot be a bad thing!

Written by Marianne Slevin

18 September, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Greener Art

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When I was in my degree year I went through a dilemma, I had been making paintings about nature and the environment but using materials that were toxic, particularly white spirits, it seemed paradoxical. I stopped painting and began to work with natural and reclaimed materials, doing land art and interventions. One of the more playful ones I remember doing was a tree with brown bread horses dangling from it in Cork city. My thesis was called “Art from the Land” and I became inspired reading books such as “The unpainted Landscape”. Artists such as Chris Drury and Robert Janz were making work I found interesting. Even when I was doing ephemeral pieces such as “Ice melting on indigo” and “Flour on a car roof” I tended to think of them like paintings, I just could not get away from it! I documented them with photography. I then took it a step further and used natural materials such as rice paper and cotton sheets to document the weather. I used the rice paper to hold the traces left behind by rain showers, and used reclaimed old bank statements folded and stitched and formed into vessels then filled with pigment and oil, when the breeze blew the drips would form wind portraits.

Now I have come in a circle or spiral and I do it all! The different ways of working all interlink and over lap, the paintings sometimes disappear and words are painted and the ephemeral becomes preserved! I do not see it as a question of one or the other but I see there being a place for all. In my practice I recycle, reclaim, and I reduce my use of toxic substances such as white spirits. It can be reused if you allow the mucky paint the sink to the bottom and pore it into another container, it goes a bit orange but it is fine to use again. You can also get water soluble oil paint but I do prefer the oil paint you use white spirits or turpentine with. One day I would love to only use pure pigments, made up in the old fashioned and loved way by James.

My thought of the day,
Sublime and mundane are one and the same!

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Written by Marianne Slevin

11 September, 2008 at 5:55 pm

The Spirit of the Land

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land and spirit in the Burren

I feel that there are places in nature that are very powerful, where the veil between the dimensions is thinner. When I make art in nature I am drawn to these places; it is not about how it looks really, its about how it feels. The reason I love the Burren is because of how it feels or how it makes you feel I love how it looks too! In the book Spiritual Alchemy the author says that Ireland is one the countries where the veil between the dimensions is the thinnest and therefore easiest to feel certain energies. Out of all of the places in Ireland that I have been to I think Clare and the Burren area is one of the strongest. It seems to attract allot of healers and creative people. (I see healing as being very creative and music and visual art and poetry and other forms of creativity as being very healing.) I wonder was it the energy of land that attracted the people, then because of all the creative people and healers that it became even stronger? I love the idea of all of that music floating around out there echoing off the ocean and the rocks for eternity!

I was talking to someone who plays music and writes, about a certain place I have made two drawings I said that I reckoned that  it was a very special place, he agreed saying that `if fairies do exit, they exist there!¨ Later that day I spoke to a woman who was very passionate about the same place and brings all of her guests there at least once. I was amazed the other people felt  something there as well as myself and James.

I love the book Eternal Echoes written by John O´Donahue, who died earlier this year. The painting Secret Garden was inspired by a story he told about this garden in the mountains he remembered from his childhood. I loved the idea of a secret garden in the mountains, all ordered and cared for, surrounded by wilderness.

I am going to do some research into Aboriginal art and their connection to the land. I just read about an aboriginal woman Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1910-1996)who started painting after she was 70 years old, she was very prolific, and made up for all all those years of not painting!  

Written by Marianne Slevin

2 September, 2008 at 10:25 pm