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The Muse's Storage Box

The Muse's Storage Box
Copyright Diane Lou.

Alchemical Dreams and Disparate Realities

Rust and bones, broken toys and old text, game boards, gears and nests. Even as a child such odd, unwanted items evoked a pit-of-the-stomach response that bordered on exhilaration.
While I make no attempt to conjure up specific feelings in the viewer, the ambiguous juxtapositioning of familiar materials creates art that evokes half-forgotten, dream-like visions that beg to be interpreted by the viewer. There is a sense of deja vu (the already seen) tempered by a sense of jamais vu ( the never seen, or the illusion that the familiar does not seem familiar), and this contradiction asks the viewer to dig deeply, to look inside her own repository of wisdom, intuition and experience to find her own meaning in the familiar objects she sees.
The once-private discards of people's material lives that I collect for my art seem to carry universal memories with them, memories that can engage and mystify the viewer. Their beauty lies within the rust, the erosion, the wear, and the mere fact that they were once possessions.
I play with abandon and with no forethought. Each piece of detritus seems to suggest to me a relationship with some other piece, and I begin to put them together and wait for the mental "buzz" that lets me know I am proceeding as I should. Even at this point, I continue to remain in the play state and will not allow myself to direct the outcome of the piece, a process that requires complete trust. The outcome often mystifies me as much as it might any viewer.
Remember when, as a child, whatever was in reach became the instrument of your creative exploration? That is my life. A rusty, flattened piece of metal on the street, a gnawed bone by the roadside, a unique twisted branch from a tree, a fallen nest, a broken egg, a snake's skin, a dead butterfly...all will be added to my collection and eventually have their beauty honored in one of my pieces. The resulting art creates a new story with its own imagined history, one that invites the viewers to lay some claim on it by allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sight, the history, and the ambiguity of the realities before them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Repurpose on Purpose

This  is the weekend for the Trash Art Show and Trash Bash at Manzanita.  In its 11th year, this great fundraiser draws in huge crowds of locals and tourists alike.  The recycling center there, which sponsors the event, is a non-profit run to a large extent by volunteers. The show is a great way to promote recycling and the arts...and raise money for a good cause.

When I was in Manzanita last week, I saw an amazing dress a woman had made for the show last year....knitted from unraveled cassette tapes (if you are old enough to remember what cassette tapes are).

Our local landfill/recycling center sends out a small newspaper with tips for "repurposing", as well as where to get rid of almost anything you can think of.  They had a great column recently, aimed at kids but perfect for artists least found-object artists.

Their list included such tips as:
~Keep a "possibilities" box to hold items no longer used for their original purpose, or things that are broken.
~Encourage your friends to keep a "possibilities" box so you can have a party and share each other's items.
~Think of as many uses as you can for each item.
~Take things apart to see what interesting pieces and shapes are inside.
~Mix items that may not seem to go together and create something new.

I couldn't help but think a found-object artist had written that list.
Have a beautiful weekend!

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