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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!
Yesterday my sister and I headed to Oregon City where there were over 70 garage sales this weekend, many in the lovely historic district of town. It was, unfortunately, one of the hottest days of the year hovering around 100, but we soldiered on and still found many wonderful things!
Ancient puppet women from Thailand, barn owl wings, a vintage double hourglass housed in bamboo and wrapped with metal, several wonderful old boxes to work in, an ancient domino set, and 3 very old handcarved duck decoys (3/$10), and much more. There were also things for the house and garden...wine glasses and weed barrier cloth. It was a very productive day! Now I'm ready to work again.
Pictured above is a whimsical, light piece...not my norm...but once I put those curlique wood pieces on the side of the box, it seemed that was where it wanted to go. The wooden "gateway" above her, the lace arch in the background and the 3 stars above her were all bins finds. On the right are plastic tree branches (probably from a Halloween decoration, also at the bins as was she and the giant die she is sitting on). Her painted face has a rather quizzical expression on it so once I got that far, I wasn't sure where this thing was going. Then I looked at my cluttered desk, and saw the taped together black envelope that has written on top "Fragile....frog inside" . You may wonder where that would have come from, but once my sister found a small frog that had become flattened by a passing vehicle. The dried out, very flat frog, was then sent to me with the cautionary words on the envelope.
Anyway, that jumped up at me, nearly flying into my hand and from there it landed in the tree branch, and I knew the damsel in distress was looking for her frog prince and the piece became "The Kiss", a title stolen from one of my all-time favorite pieces of art by Klimt.
(The Kiss, copyright by Diane Lou 2010. 16"x12"x4")