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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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter solstice...

A couple days ago the shortest day passed by...the "watershed of the year", as Vita Sackville-West called it.  Now we can look forward to the gradually lengthening days as winter officially arrives.  It's a long, slow process, this getting through dark, damp and dreary days, but here in Oregon, the signs of spring are already evident.

Daffodil shoots are already a couple inches high, and instead of dying down completely the perennial flowers have thick rosettes of new leaves at ground level as if they are eager to head towards next summer's prolific bloom.  The filbert/hazelnut trees are covered with a thick dusting of catkins promising a more abundant crop next year.  Camillias are in full bloom at elevations lower than we are.

Like these lengthening days (today will be 11 seconds longer), life sometimes has to be taken in baby steps too, instead of those giant leaps we often choose to take.  Change brought on by challenge is in the end a positive...but the getting to the other side can take every ounce of effort.  This year was one of loss (of my son-in-law) balanced by gain (new granddaughter Geneva, lots of new art, and deepening relationships with loved ones).

Today I'll be back in the studio for the first time in a week, looking through some newly acquired items from the bin trip yesterday, temporarily packing away some things that have sat for too long, and attempting to free up some wall space so I have a place to work.  In a few days, grandson Jake will be here again and treehouse work (siding) will continue.

I hope your holiday finds you in a place of peace and comfort with those you love!
(Untitled piece, copyright Diane Lou.  Just added the "cage" part in the past week.)


lee said...

This is very clever your tip must be much better than ours LOL!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks! Your name will go in for the drawing. I appreciate your reading the blog.