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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.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flowing like a river...

Many years ago when someone asked me what my ideal life would be I remember replying, "I would be a full-time artist". That has always been my love. As a child I would hide out in the sweltering upstairs bedroom of our Kansas farm house to do art with whatever few things I could gather. Interestingly, in light of what I do today, one of my favorite things was to use shoeboxes to create dioramas, 3-D scenes. Even then I remember being entranced by these miniature worlds I could create within a box. it surprising this is what I am doing now and what has brought me the most joy of any of my creative endeavors?

I've often read that the things that make us happiest as adults are the things we enjoyed doing during the years of 7-10. When I see how many people count the days until they can retire, or dread each and every day spent at work, I am even more grateful for the opportunity to do what I love.

And the art flows out like a river. It is as if a whole lifetime's worth of shoebox dioramas has been dammed up inside of me all my life and now, given the time, space and opportunity, it is all coming out.
P.S. This piece has undergone some additions since this photo was posted. Will post an update one of these days.
(Bound Angel, copyright by Diane Lou 2010)

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