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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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Constructing a spiral...

Here's a new piece ...well, actually a piece I thought was done a while ago, but its incompleteness nagged at me.  Then I took a couple pieces off and added the black ball and the red tin in the top center, and now it is finished.
It's about 20" tall in all, and the piece it was created on (the pointed wood background with a shelf-like front) was part of what I got in a $1 bag at the end of a church rummage sale.  The smaller picture frames were actually made from one picture frame cut in half and separated.  The black turned pieces were just made from one that had split in half down the grain, and the black ball was a peeling, freebie ball I painted black.

I get as much joy from reclaiming discards as I do from the act of putting them all together. Looking at things for their shape, their texture, their dimension and looking beyond the dirt, the rust, the chips and broken bits...that is really the key.  Everything I use was once destined for a landfill, and I love nothing better than making art out of all the things I rescue.

The days are full of getting ready to teach and sell at Art and Soul October 5-11. And this weekend grandson Jake will be here and we'll start building a treehouse!  I can't wait. I envision a forest full of treehouses with rope bridges and zip lines connecting them.  Sounds like great fun!

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