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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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Aging gracefully...

Friend Kristine's wonderful essay about aging gracefully on set me thinking about it.
Sure, I'd love to have smooth, unwrinkled skin again...and a body I didn't mind putting in a swimsuit (but I minded it as much when I was younger as I do now, so what's the big deal about that?)
 I was recently reminded that cosmetic surgery does not make us look 30, but instead it makes us look like we are “trying” to look 30.
That aside, I have recently taken a great deal of interest in watching the women my age (nearly 65) and noting what it is about them that still makes them attractive at this age and older.
The common traits I find are a smiling or happy countenance; eyes that reflect their interest in new things, their wisdom about things that seldom change, their passion about living life fully, and their compassion for others after having seen the good, bad and ugly of life; good posture, and a great haircut (no matter what the color….white or outrageous red). There you have it!
I’m so happy I am no longer making bad decisions with men, no longer care what others think, and that I have the freedom to finally be the person I have aspired to be my whole life.
I have watched life enter the world and attended to it as it left. I have been threatened by health issues serious enough to make me face my own mortality. And I feel blessed that all of these things have happened to/for me. I wouldn’t trade this for my 3 mid-thirties daughters’ lives for anything.

About life (and this could apply to the artist's journey as well) Joseph Campbell once wrote, "What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another.  Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons.  Each  time, there is the same problem: do I dare?  And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco.  There's always the possibility of a fiasco.  But there's also the possibility of bliss."

I hope you are following yours....


Judy Shreve said...

What a great post! It's women who age wonderfully -- that make it easier on those younger. I hit 60 in May of last year -- I have thought more about aging than ever -- but this post reminded me that aging is actually a good thing. Thanks!
(hope since I posted in January I'm eligible for the free art drawing :)

Diane Lou said...

Hi Judy,
It's a challenge, isn't it? But then so was being young (and we didn't appreciate what we had then anyway...and we had none of the wisdom we have now).

Your name is in the drawing, Judy! Thanks for posting.

lee said...

I agree,I am just 60 and NOT happy about it but I wouldnt go back to 20 for anything!