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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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicken feet and a cuckoo clock...

After a grand and exhausting time teaching at Art and Soul, I'm home again...or I was.  Now I'm back in Portland with the grandkids.

My classes were all packed, and the only way I pulled it off was with the help of my volunteer assistants who were amazing!  I love wonderful, resourceful women, and these gals were.  They saw what needed done and didn't ask, but just did.  Thanks to each of you if you are reading this.

Roomie Jennifer got me a awesome present...a white chicken (or perhaps turkey) foot.  She knows me so well!

Then on Saturday, vendor night, one of my students who, earlier in the day had asked directions to the Goodwill bins, came up with a gift for me.  She was so hopeful that I would like it, and of course, I did!  It was a broken old German cuckoo clock with all the beautiful gears, the pendulum, the bellows that make the cuckoo sound...oh my.  It is awesome!

Now two more workshops next week, then hopefully a little down time. Thanks to all my wonderful students at Art and Soul for a great time!

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