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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Constants amidst change...

This week as I watched the garden growing day by day, the mason bees filling the tubes with eggs for next year, the goldfish coming out of dormancy and beginning to eat again, the fields turning deep green with 2 foot tall wheat, and the lilacs and rhodies blooming, I was struck by the comfort that such constants give me. Nature can be unpredictable (witness flooded and devastated Nashville or earthquake-ruined Haiti), but the cycles of the seasons and wild creatures are constants.

As a family member battles cancer, and I find each week shaken up emotionally by the decline, my solace comes when I return home from caregiving to my loving and steadfast husband and to the nature that surrounds us fully here in the Coast Range. I walk into the studio and my hands still know what to do to distract my mind from the churning internal conversation of worries and sadness. Soon, the hours have passed, art has been made and I am again at peace.

On a good note, I was accepted into two galleries last week...Currents in McMinnville, and River Gallery in Independence (work will be there after the first of the month). Great! I'll have free wall space to work on again!

No comments: