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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.
At this time, I have no workshops scheduled. But if you are interested, email me and let me know you'd like to be on the list. And, of course, the info about any workshops will be posted on the blog several times. Thanks for your interest!
"What marvelous work! Dreamlike and full of mysterious archetypes. A wonderful mind must make these things! ..K.S.
"These works are springboards to remembering."... L.H.
"Your cabinets of curiosities are strangely disturbing and delightfully compelling—all at the same time. What I liked most was that I could not determine WHICH elements were serving which of those roles..." V.M.
"My internal monologue went a bit like this: 'These are great! I love them!...why do I bother making assemblages?...well, it's a relief in a way, because here's someone who can do it for me...I wonder if she's a student....I bet she's like 19. Rrr.' Well, she's not 19, she's older than me, and her work is an inspiration to make art instead of think about it!"...MacArtWalk blog reviewer.
"As one who looks at art on a daily basis, (my) palpable reaction was rare and unanticipated. Her constructions create familiar, even comforting, but strange and uncanny juxtapositions of the homely rendered beautiful through the transformative property of suggestion."...Brian Winkenweder, Ph.D.
I'm having the time of my life...that's how I would describe my days. Finding Nils, my wonderful artist husband almost five years ago now, having a studio and time to create art, having my family all nearby, living in a setting that surrounds me with nature's beauty no matter where I turn, having unique and creative friends who support and understand my art, and lastly, being able to share my enthusiasm for fearlessly creating art by teaching workshops. Perfect!
Days have been overcast alternating with sun, in the high 60's or low 70's, perfect really. Not summer as many people think of it, but great for Oregonians. The garden is thriving and, thankfully, my golf game is improving. I started playing (trying to play, I should say) last summer, and it was the most frustrating thing I had ever tried. This year I started with a few lessons with a pro which have made a huge difference and moved me forward enough that I can go play 9 holes with Nils without being nearly in tears. There has been enough improvement that I have gone from just wishing I could be a mediocre player (a big improvement from where I was) to deciding I want to be a good player (that competitive nature in me coming out). I hit 100 balls whenever I can and now that I am seeing the difference it makes (and how much better my body feels), I am even more motivated.
It's been another big life lesson for me too. Learning something new in our later years is something we sometimes resist, but it is such a positive thing. Whether it is something physical, with the added benefit of strengthening our bodies and making us feel younger and healthier, or something mental like learning a new language, or opening up to our creative side, we come out better on the other side. And all become slightly addictive...you become eager to get stronger, eager to challenge your mind more, or eager to express yourself, or all.
A Portland writer challenged himself to do something new every day for one year. And he did it and documented it in his blog. He decided his life needed a freshening up, and I think this did it for him. It was a huge commitment, more than most of would want to do or have time to do, but we can all commit to learning one new thing, or doing something we've never thought we could do, and it gives us a bit of a rebirth and a new thrill about life. I have friends who have started piano lessons or painting or studying Mandarin in their 70's. It's never too late!