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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.

Friday, January 22, 2010

San Diego...or not

Yesterday as Nils and I sat eating breakfast at the hotel in Portland, awaiting a shuttle to the airport, we looked at each other and both realized we didn't really want to go. Our motivation to go was for sun and warmth and being able to be outdoors, but the weather in San Diego has been just about the worst ever this week...torrential rains, gale-force winds, mud slides, coastal flooding, even tornadoes. So, two hours before our flight, we cancelled out, and thanks to charging on American Express, we got a full refund.

So we headed home (with a brief stop at the Goodwill bins where I did find a few lovely goodies for my art), gratefully unpacked and headed to the studio, relieved that we didn't go all that way to suffer through miserable weather. Yes, it will be cloudy and rainy here, but that's OK. We both love the comforts of our wonderful home and surroundings, so there is no sacrifice involved in the choice.

Interestingly, as soon as I unpacked my goodies from the bins, several found a place to go. So often, it seems that a work of art is just waiting for a certain object to show up and complete the piece, or at least move it forward.

The piece pictured today is one that is now in the Wild Woman show, and which was finished the day before jurying. It is entitled Wings #2.

Wings, metal bits, old alphabetical folder tabs, bottom decorative wood piece and clock hand all from the bins, key hanger from Jennifer, background board from Marlene, (you can tell I spend lots of materials, right?). Wooden "box" piece was from an old treadle sewing machine cabinet....part of the framework that held the drawers. Below is a detail of the piece.

Days are getting noticeably longer, the leaves of flower buds reach higher each day, and soon it will be time to plant the early cool-weather crops in the garden again. Must get the seed order in to Renee's Garden! (Fantastic and fun seeds. Order online.)

(Wings #2, copyright 2010 by Diane Lou. Photo by Diane Lou)

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