For current posts, scroll down past artist's statement.

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.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Better every day...

My postings have been so sporadic during recovery, but I am feeling better and better, so expect things to return to normal soon.   Food finally sounds and tastes good, and my energy is starting to return (yes, I have walked down to the studio and back up the hill several times now), and I eagerly look forward to having the stamina to actually spend several hours in the studio.

What I really look forward to first though is looking through and reorganizing the "stuff" that I use to create my art.  I don't think I've actually shown you a picture of what that collection looks like, have I?  Well,  there are full shelves, as well as various boxes and Rubbermaids overflowing around on the floor that house my goodies.  While I feel it is essential to have a big assortment to draw from, there is a fine line between being inspired and being overwhelmed.  So, often sorting, reorganizing and just looking through everything is a great prelude to actually creating art.  Creative foreplay is how one artistic friend described it.

Not only do I forget what I have buried in the piles, but different things speak to me at different times.  Something that left me cold 6 months ago may create shock waves of excitement now.  Other pieces tell me, point blank, that they need to go in the outdoor, out-of-my-sight box because they doing nothing for me.  Some may even get donated back to the Goodwill bins.

I consider my art a process, and this is part of the process, the sorting and searching.  It is a time that allows my subconscious to play with what it is seeing, while my left brain thinks it is organizing.  Usually this time is followed by a huge creative burst of energy with numerous pieces coming into being quickly.

Creative block can hit us all, but if you can identify what process helps break that block, you are on your way to having control over it.  Whether it is cleaning your studio, sorting your stuff, doing a magazine photo collage, doodling, dancing, whatever mindless/thoughtless activity it is that frees you up, identify it as a major tool in your creative process and use it whenever needed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

San Francisco Show

I look out the window and see the fog nestled between the tall Douglas fir trees...and now the sun trying to cut through the fog.  Fall is definitely here.  The leaves have left the deciduous trees, so the landscape will be dominated by the evergreen forest for the coming months.

Recovery continues in fits and starts....a few good days, a few bad days.  I finally feel like I might be through the worst of it.  Eating is still the big challenge.  What can I eat that I can digest?  What holds any appeal at all? When will I be able to eat enough to not keep losing weight?  I'm sure it will all resolve in time.

Email this a.m. brought the good news that I had two pieces accepted into a show in San Francisco called ReVisions: New Creations from Scrap.  It is a recycle, upCycle, reUse show and I am thrilled to be included.  I pride myself on rescuing "junk" and turning it into art, and I love that there are so many other artists turning waste into everything from jewelry to furniture to clothing to household items.

The piece pictured above, "Sacrifice", is one of the pieces accepted.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Still in recovery mode...

While I optimistically thought I'd be a lot more up and about by this time (3 weeks after major surgery), it just isn't happening that way.  I'm still resting, reading and napping a lot, not going much of anywhere because it is simply too exhausting,  and mostly trying to find foods that hold any appeal for me and then agree with me after I eat them.  The joys of gastro-intestinal surgery.  So please bear with the lack of posts for a little longer.  I'll try to at least write something every few days.

Today Nils took my piece "The Secret" to Corvallis for the Shrines and Reliquaries show, while I (you guessed it) stayed home and napped and read.  I hope to be well enough to go see the show before it comes down the end of December.

(Moment #3, copyright Diane Lou.  5"x 2 1/2". Private collection of Marlene Ankeny.)