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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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It's one of a string of beautiful, sunny days here....a break we often get in January, lulling us into the belief that winter and rain and dreary days are over.  But after a week or two of sun and spring-like temps, we usually sink back into the other once again.  In the meantime, even the tulips have decided it is safe to surface, and I even saw a flowering tree in bloom the other day.  The great thing about Oregon is there is not a month where something is not in bloom, and spring never seems that far from fall.  I would not be surprised to see my first crocus in bloom by the end of this sunny spell.

Yesterday was to be an all-day playday in the studio for me, then we had a power outage, making it too dark to work!  So I moved outside to the garden, cleaned up more beds, took a nibble of the new 3" tall chives, dug out my old sick raspberries in prep for turning the bed into all strawberries, with a new location for raspberries.

I'll be spending a couple days in Portland with my grandkids this week, so that will afford me hours of time while they are in school to go to the bins, to SCRAP, and to the reBuilding Center looking for some new inspiration.  Can't wait!

Nils and I saw The King's Speech last night.  Terrific movie!

The piece above, B-4, centers around part of a collage of a king I made years ago for a 4x4 book, and part of a broken horn, courtesy of friend Jennifer.  Test tubes, a chess board and the rusty piece across the top, which is actually a plastic child's crown which has been flattened out and had my favorite rusting solution applied to it, are the other main elements.

Don't forget to sign up for the free art by posting a comment!  Just a few more days to go.
(B-4 Copyright Diane Lou 2011)


dlien said...

Your piece is amazing!! You are so inspiring!

Diane Lou said...

You are very kind! Thanks for watching what's new and following along. I'll add your name to the drawing for free art too!