For current posts, scroll down past artist's statement.

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.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Last summer when my sister and I sweated our way through about 100 garage sales in Oregon City (in unusual 100+ degree heat), we found a car full of goodies.   But as the day wore on and the heat had taken its toll on us as well as on those selling, we decided to head home....then saw one last sign that we decided to follow up on.

The sellers were packing up and giving up so had a huge number of free things, some of which went home with us.  They also had this old  shadow box made from an old wood-framed window that I gladly paid the $10 for.  With its perfectly peeling old paint, the nice division of space, and a good depth,  I knew it would be the start to a fun project.
Here's a detail of the piece.  All the interior spaces are lined with black and white photos of European architecture (enlargements from vintage postcards) which create a real sense of depth and perspective. The top addition was part of a broken picture frame from the bins (like most everything else inside the boxes).  Upper left there is a small nest, a gift from Kim.  The wooden window below it has a transparency of a nude woman in it.  The Glamour Shots plastic holder on the upper right houses vintage photos instead of Glamour Shots, and the bottom holds a sparkly little girl's shoe, an evocative addition to the piece (and a gift from friend Jennifer).

I just emailed a picture of this as a submission to the Wild Women show.  Fingers crossed!
(Reveries, copyright Diane Lou 2010.  28x25x5)

No comments: