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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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Studio workshop today...

Today, for the first time, I'll be conducting a workshop in our studio here at home.  Twelve Linfield College students will be coming out for an all-day workshop on Found Object Assemblage.  After loading, unloading, reloading and unloading about half a dozen times in the past 3 weeks for workshops away from home, I think I am really going to find I love teaching on the home turf where every tool, adhesive and piece of "stuff" is at my disposal.

Today will mark the end of workshop teaching probably through the holidays at least, and I eagerly anticipate getting back in the studio to do my own work instead of just preparing for the workshops which I thoroughly enjoyed teaching. I'm sure the galleries are also looking forward to something fresh...and speaking of that, I hope to find a couple more galleries so my workspace walls can be freed up for new work.

A new granddaughter is due in a week, so there is anticipation on that front too.  Geneva Alexandra.  It's been 10 years since the last grandchild and 16 years since the first one, so there will definitely be time to treasure her every moment just like with the first two.

Nils is off teaching a workshop at Chemeketa Community College today, so tonight we'll both put our feet up and heave a sigh of relief.

I sliced and dried the first big batch of tomatoes that are suddenly all deciding to ripen at the same time.  We had a couple nights at 32 degrees, but with covering, everything survived.  And now we are headed into a weekend of winter storms, which for us here means gusty winds and heavy rains (a couple inches or more predicted), but with moderate temps.  So no more frost on the horizon but the shortened daylight hours will still take their toll on the plants and me.  I say this sitting beside my light box as I do each fall/winter a.m.

(111, copyright by Diane Lou.   20x18x3)

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