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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, September 26, 2010

Magical Kingdom

This piece is titled Magical Kingdom.  A few weeks ago a long-ago friend of Nils's showed up, and we ended up all going to the Goodwill bins the next day.  Mary pulled the lovely background wood piece out of the bins and my heart sank for a moment that I had missed out on it, then she came over and handed it to me.  I kept trying to use it horizontally and finally took it off the wall and set on down in front of some other things...on end.  A couple days later I walked by and realized that I needed to use it vertically and from there it all fell into place.  Old post office box dials are in the lower right, an old wooden box houses the vintage photos, and a rusted plastic castle tops it off.  The stained glass piece at the top was from a disassembled glass lamp from the bins.  

Back in Portland with my grandkids after a busy weekend with grandson Jake at our place starting to build a treehouse.  I'm not sure who is having more fun...Nils and I or Jake (or friend Jim who stopped by today).  Why do treehouses hold such magic?  All you do is mention treehouse, and people show up at the door with a hammer in hand.  Did we all wish for a truly wonderful treehouse when we were kids when what we actually had (if anything) was a tiny platform in a forked tree?

This treehouse has a 10x14 platform, so will have a little deck around the actual house.  We got the platform frame done, and the floor joists put up.  Now for decking.  Jake below "meditating" on the started platform.  Did I mention he is quite theatrical?  Ommmmm......
(Magical Kingdom.... 24x10x4  Copyright by Diane Lou 2010)

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