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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, December 19, 2009

Happy holidays, health and happiness...

Here we are nudging up to winter solstice ("the watershed of the year" as Vita Sackville-West called it).  A happy time for anyone who suffers through the short, dark, dreary days of winter each year.  Though there will be no noticeable difference for quite a while, the psychological difference is huge as I switch my attitude from desperation to optimism.  I can look at the weather website each day and watch as it announces that "tomorrow's daylight will be 3 minutes longer".  Cheers!

A walk to the garden today showed the devastation of our 8, 9 and 10 degree days that we had a week or so ago.  A few mixed Asian greens still show signs of life as does the Swiss chard.  Carrots still happily chill out in the soil, and just get better and better with the cold.
Now that I am recovered and feeling healthy and energetic, it's time to go clean up the rotting vegetation that succumbed to the cold.  

There's something hopeful about preparing the beds for spring planting, the earliest of which could be in 2-3 months.  The nearly 400 bulbs I planted are starting to send up their little green shoots, so the promise of bloom is already there.  Spring in the NW is so filled with abundance....of green, of brilliant color and sweet fragrance.  But winter is still in between....

Last year on this date, we had 26 inches a snow, a record, which kept us snowbound and without power for 10 days.  Trees broke and tumbled under the weight of the wet snow, power lines sagged and broke, and the roads were clogged with the debris of it all, making them impassible here in the woods.  Finally after 10 days as we ran out of firewood and food, we were finally able to get out of our remote location.  Good thing too because I ended up in the hospital the next day with a life-threatening emergency.  What a year it has been!

This is a full week of gatherings with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, and I'm grateful to be well and able to participate.

Here's a wish for our world...that we have peace, that people have jobs and homes and health, and that we learn to work together among ourselves here as well as in other lands to solve the many problems that affect our lives and our world.    

Happy holidays and a happy, creative year ahead to all of you!

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