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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.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year and new look...

Here at the Lou home and studio, the New Year is off to a hopeful start.  As my energy returned, I dug into the black hole that was my studio work area and vowed to make order of chaos.  I apologize for not having "before" pictures to compare with.  Use your imagination and think "black hole of chaos".  These are some of the "after" pictures.  

I have 4 large shelf units in my area which are now filled with (mostly) carefully labeled clear Rubbermaids.  Some may have 6 or 7 labels on them so I actually know ALL the different things that might reside within.  I have mostly resisted my urge to label a container as containing "miscellaneous".

As we go to the work area photos, you can see that my definition of "organized" can be taken very loosely.  What I discovered is that there seems to be a point of critical mass that makes it impossible for me to work.   Then as I start to clean and put away and organize, there is also a magic point at which I suddenly do feel able to work.  The good part is seeing some item and being able to put it away because there actually is a designated space for it.

My work wall too. As I work on a piece, I repeatedly move it from the work table to the wall.  It may hang there for days or weeks while I look at it (while working on other pieces) trying to see where it is going next.  When the wall is too full of works in progress or finished works, I don't have a creative thought in my head.  Remove some items from the wall, and voila!...  creativity re-enters the room.  

After I cleaned, Nils did his part, cleaning the tool bench and the pottery area, and since then, we have both been on a creative roll.  I think we've learned that at least a certain degree of orderliness and organization is good.  We are off to a positive start!

I took photos yesterday of a new piece that I finished entitled, "Buddha Getting Out of Dodge." I'll post those probably tomorrow, then some pictures of a work nearly completed, and another work in the early stages as I figure out where it is going.

May your New Year be the best!  Oh, and rejoice in the fact that tomorrow's daylight will be 1 minute and 44 seconds longer than yesterday.  

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