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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.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Drawer #7...or 280-285-290-295

As I prepare to go in for major surgery on the 16th, I find myself on a creative roll again (normal for this time of year...and no, I am not always in the mood to create art).  I have a couple shows I am jurying into, so have been eager to get some pieces done.

This piece, originally titled  A Book about Death (for the show of that name), has morphed some from when I first photographed it, into what you see here.  It is a piece filled with gifts from friends....the marvelous red drawer front and bone handle for the net from Deb, the dried roses from Marlene, the skull from Xena, and the rusty square behind the 7 ball is from Nils's old studio.  All is contained within a metal lid from a little trunk (19"x12"), and the ornate grillwork on the front is actually plastic (once part of a dollhouse) made to look like rusted metal using a metal rusting product.

It so satisfying when a piece finally says to me, "yes, I'm done, so now you can move on."  I have several more I am eager to show you in the days ahead.

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