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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.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I have been offered an opportunity to show my work at the upstairs gallery at NW Wine.  It will be the perfect setting for my small, intimate pieces which invite the viewer to move in for a closer look.
The opening is May 20, I believe...definite time and date later.  The hanging is this week so part of the weekend will be spent preparing for that...checking hanging wires and printing labels.  I hope you can come see the work in person once it is up.

This little piece is called The Doorkeeper.  Created from an old red book cover, a scraped and aged checkerboard, part of a picture frame, as well as little detail pieces, the cut-out words on The Doorkeeper read "Witness as the doorkeeper with a proud heart kisses the dark moon."

I love cutting words from old books, shuffling them around on a table, then putting them back together into phrases/poetry/or whatever you want to call it.  This process calls up something different in the mind than sitting down to write on the computer or with pen and paper in hand, and is very stress-free and playful. You will write things you never thought you could!

(Photo: The Doorkeeper, copyright 2008 by Diane Lou.  12x15" Photo by Nils Lou)


Teri said...

Congratulations Diane! You're right - that is a perfect venue for your work! Best of luck with the show! -Teri

Diane Lou, said...

Thanks, Teri. Wish you were here to see the new works. I'll try to get photos while the show is hanging (easier to photo there than in the overflowing studio) so you can have a peek.

Deb Stone said...

Where is NW Wine?

Diane Lou said...

Hi Deb,
It is at 326 NW Davis St, McMinnville. Their phone # is 503-435-1295 if you want to check on their hours. The opening will be the 20th...I'll send a card with details.