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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, September 5, 2009

The fall garden

This year's garden has been the garden everyone wants but seldom gets.  Everything grew perfectly and lushly, tasted like heaven, and was breathtakingly beautiful.  This photo was taken yesterday and shows the lush, huge parts of the garden, as well as those areas that have been replanted with new fall plantings of cool weather crops that can tolerate chilly nights and still thrive.  It has been pure joy to watch and nurture it each day, and to enjoy the endless bounty that came from a few packages of seed.  

The area right beside the garden, the area that slopes down towards the studio you see in the background was a weed patch filled with thistles and all sorts of obnoxious things.  When daughter Lenka came to visit, we did a day of marathon weeding around here and that was one of the areas we tackled.  She is an amazing worker!  Once we had that area beside the garden weeded, I vowed not to let it get away from me again.  I put that thought together with the thought that I had really missed having a big flower bed this year to cut bouquets from, and, in the next day or so, you'll see the end result of those thoughts and the creative (and free) solution to the situation.

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