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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Number 4" in progress...

The beginning...

I thought it might be interesting for you to see how a work develops for me.   So today I will show you a bit of one work as it started, and then tomorrow, how it ended up.

The first photo above shows a wonderful black piece of very odd-shaped wood given to me by friend Kim.  I remember ooohhhing and aaahhing when I saw it, but it sat for nearly a year before I figured out what to do with it.    The dominoes were not on it but I had just decided to put them on (again using Golden gel medium).  The box above it has Oriental writing on the sides and that seemed in some way to go with the black.  Inside the box, I put a piece of old cardboard with Chinese characters written on it, and pulled out an old torn oval mat to try (both saved by pack rat friend Marlene who always saves the very best stuff for me) .

The second photo shows where things went next.  Part of the black wooden black piece was removable, and it came off the bottom (where the natural wood color shows) and moved to the top of the piece where it would eventually be fastened.  I screwed the box to the "L" brackets that were on top of the black piece to start tying the piece together.

Tomorrow you'll see the rest of the story and the finished piece!

I just found out I'll be teaching at Art and Soul again this October in Portland, OR.  They host events around the country, so visit their website: .

Off to the studio.  Have a fun weekend!

No comments: