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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, November 6, 2010

More transformations...

As I continue to prepare my "stuff" for pieces, I thought I'd show you a few more photos of what I've been doing during the past few days.  I love the Sophisticated Finishes rusting finish (from that enables me to transform ordinary plastic (or paper or fabric or lace or wood or metal) into something that looks like it has been around for decades.

In the first photo, you'll see the original items (clear plastic man, red giant checker, and plastic castle tower from a child's toy) and  then one with one coat of the metal finishing on it.  I used the clear primer from the same company first, which creates a surface that the dark painted on metal adheres well to.

More plastic items with the metal surfacer coating on them.
Here are some pieces in the process of "rusting"  The rusting solution is applied after the metal surfacer (usually 2 coats) is completely dry.  Sometimes if I don't get quite as much rust as I would like, I reapply the rusting solution again.  It can take several hours for this part of the process to complete itself.
Since the dark metal surfacer actually contains metal filings, what you are getting is really rust, not just a look-alike. 
Gorgeous fall photos to follow.

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