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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, September 11, 2009

A creative solution....

In my previous post, I mentioned the sloping weedy area beside the vegetable garden as well as the desire for a flower bed.  Here's the solution.  First I covered the area with 25 year ground cover cloth (weed barrier), leaving plenty to pull up behind what you see above (That's it behind the steel).  

In looking for something for a retaining wall, I found these laser-cut steel  sheets (2x6') down in the old studio. When the sheet metal company cuts out multiple items for a certain purpose, these are the leftovers.  Nils got them free years ago and we have lots of them in different patterns, the pattern being determined by what it cut from them.  I find them intriguing and wonderful.

We simply supported them with rebar driven into the ground a couple feet, pulled the ground cover cloth up behind and back filled with good soil.  We then topped it off with a 2x6" with a groove sawn into it which fit along the top of the steel to hold it together.

The back-filled area is about 30'x4' and is now filled with newly planted perennials and underplanted with 300 bulbs which should be glorious in spring.


kathydkeith said...

Your laser cut sheets are so unique!

kathydkeith on Etsy

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Kathy! This particular design results when they are cutting "dogs" for sawmills ("dogs" being the pointed metal pieces that pull logs along). We have several other sheets with completely different designs. I suspect that any sheet metal place who does laser-cut steel would have these available. You might get them free or just have to pay what they would get for recycling the steel, but that would probably be all. I think the possibilities are endless.

Cory said... the design and the texture.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Cory. So do I. We also made a couple free-standing big planter boxes that will flank the garden gate. My husband cut and welded them. Can't wait to fill them in spring.