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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, June 20, 2010


When I signed into Blogger, I noticed that I have had 99 posts. This 100th post is a hard one to write.

In February my son-in-law, Bill, was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer. During the months that followed, we who loved and cared for him watched him lose over 50 pounds and watched him suffer more than anyone should. I should add, he is the father of my two grandchildren, Abbie who is 16 and Jake who is 10.

Watching those who watched was just as hard. Different kinds of suffering and pain affected each person, and different kinds of growth occurred. My daughter poured her heart into keeping the children safe and living life, all while being completely honest about what the outcome of this event would be. She lead them through an experience that was new to her as well. Now, I hope she has time to rest, reflect and renew as a widow at 38.

Wednesday night Bill was finally released from his suffering, and the initial response for me at least was relief. Now the sadness starts to settle in.

On Tuesday we celebrate his life and on Wednesday we start to put one foot in front of the other, moving forward.


Teri said...

Diane, my heart is holding yours right now, wishing the grief way. You all sound so strong. Remember to lean when you need to, simply stop when you can. I'll be behind you mentally holding your hand. Love, Teri

Diane Lou said...

What a heartfelt comment, Teri. Thank you. We are all moving ahead, recuperating and renewing in our own ways with lots of support from dear friends like you.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I have just found your blog Diane. I am so sorry for your loss.

Diane Lou said...

You are a dear, Leslie. Thanks so much from the whole family.