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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.
At this time, I have no workshops scheduled. But if you are interested, email me and let me know you'd like to be on the list. And, of course, the info about any workshops will be posted on the blog several times. Thanks for your interest!
"What marvelous work! Dreamlike and full of mysterious archetypes. A wonderful mind must make these things! ..K.S.
"These works are springboards to remembering."... L.H.
"Your cabinets of curiosities are strangely disturbing and delightfully compelling—all at the same time. What I liked most was that I could not determine WHICH elements were serving which of those roles..." V.M.
"My internal monologue went a bit like this: 'These are great! I love them!...why do I bother making assemblages?...well, it's a relief in a way, because here's someone who can do it for me...I wonder if she's a student....I bet she's like 19. Rrr.' Well, she's not 19, she's older than me, and her work is an inspiration to make art instead of think about it!"...MacArtWalk blog reviewer.
"As one who looks at art on a daily basis, (my) palpable reaction was rare and unanticipated. Her constructions create familiar, even comforting, but strange and uncanny juxtapositions of the homely rendered beautiful through the transformative property of suggestion."...Brian Winkenweder, Ph.D.
I'm having the time of my life...that's how I would describe my days. Finding Nils, my wonderful artist husband almost five years ago now, having a studio and time to create art, having my family all nearby, living in a setting that surrounds me with nature's beauty no matter where I turn, having unique and creative friends who support and understand my art, and lastly, being able to share my enthusiasm for fearlessly creating art by teaching workshops. Perfect!
A glimpse of sunshine in a Pacific NW winter is always welcome. It may not last all day, but even a couple hours of sun brighten everyones' spirits in this land of much rain and eternal greenness. Today was such a day.
Yoga with my favorite yoga teacher, Laura, started the day. Her message for today was to let the cares of the world fall away. Consider your yoga mat as your world and think of nothing beyond it. I'll definitely be using that thought the next time it seems the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
Then we were off to dear friend Ron's to complete a trade for artwork. My piece "Coupling" now has a place in Ron's home, and now a painting of his (another one of his) will occupy ours. We had a great studio visit and rich conversation...always a delight.
Since it was then noon, I treated (since he always treats me) my sweet husband to lunch at our new favorite restaurant "Uncorked". We had luscious food (hazelnut encrusted wild salmon for me, crab cakes for Nils), then split a lemon cheesecake that was to die for. From there, we headed across the street to Lawrence Gallery to talk to Shannon, catch up on art happenings in the area, and to discuss some possible future projects.
Then home to find the county was finally starting to put more rock on our dirt road. We've been battling the mud (and losing) for several weeks now.
Next we were off on the 4-wheeler to go up the hillside to the spring to find out why the water wasn't flowing into the goldfish pond. It was a simple disconnected pipe that took seconds to fix, so we took the opportunity to drive up near the top of the mountain. As we did, we passed by a previously-logged area owned by a timber company, which now was covered with 3-foot tall young trees that had been carefully replanted after the logging a few years ago. They were just exuding good health and new growth.
The studio was our next stop for an hour of play there before we finally came to the house and settled in for some computer time and relaxation.
There was nothing really unusual about the day, but it was one that had a sweetness about it that made it rich and special. A reminder to find joy in the simplest things...and especially to treasure those who are most dear to you.
(Photo of Nils Lou by Joe Robinson 2009. All Rights Reserved.)