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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, January 28, 2011

Bins treasures....

Tuesday through Thursday of this week, I was in Portland with my grandkids.  And, since they are both in school, I had all day each day to go foraging around the city for things for my art.  I made a daily trip to the Goodwill bins (or Outlet), where the broken, unwanted and who-knows-what end up, in search of goodies for my art and home too.  Besides all the art goodies pictured, I found a beautiful soft leather jacket, a new leather purse, pillow shams that matched our bedding, gift wrap paper and ribbon, Brio train tracks and much more.  But what follows are some of the "goodies" (or what some people would call "trash") that I found.
Fingers, finials, and more.

Always love architectural or geometric shapes.

A horse, a frog, a crown for the frog, and cones

A 4' tall house that I cannot wait to transform.  The door opens.
Love, love, love this!  She was in a plastic bag, ignored even by the diggingest bins shoppers.  Her crepe paper dress is ages old, rumpled and beautifully discolored.  I think she is a treasure.
 Trophies, a tamborine, a decapitated angel (whom I would have broken apart anyway, some interesting little metal thing on the right (a little dish warmer?), a wine carrier that opens into two intriguing 1/2 columns.
 An old ledger, 2 metal curtain tie backs. a tiny red cowgirl boot, arches (love arches!), and some sort of prayer wheel.
 A doll, a wooden box, unusually large musical notation, drawer pulls, and golden Xmas ornaments (sad that they are made of plastic not glass, but good they are made of plastic not glass because now I can rust them and paint them and not worry about them breaking.)
                                        A horse, a lampshade, a cigar box, a small cutting board and Tinkertoys.
Architectural plastic pieces from a dollhouse which can be painted or rusted, tiny bird's nests, a gold cup, a wooden cove, a spoon and fork with primitive Philipine figures on them (I've already cut off the spoon and fork parts, making them more statue-like), and a plastic looking glass that will not look anything like this when I am done with it.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the results of my treasure hunt!


Pam McKnight said...

wow, what a haul. Love the 4' house and arches especially. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

rebeca trevino said...

Don't you LOVE the hunt!!

you really found some amazing things in those "bins". can't wait to see what becomes of them, especially the doll with the crepe paper dress, she is lovely.

Diane Lou said...

Somehow as I shopped, it didn't seem like I was finding a lot of good stuff....but when I set it all out to photograph, I was excited and inspired. Can't wait to get into the studio. Thanks, Pam. And in the drawing for free art you go!

Teri said...

You find the coolest stuff! Now and again, I'll find a little trinket that I store away for my collage, but you take the cake!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Teri and Rebeca. It was sooo much fun...and I love that I never know what I might find, like that cool doll that was in an ignored plastic bag. That's why I love what I do....I love the whole process: The hunting and gathering, the disassembling, then the rearrangement back into art. Drawing on Monday, everyone!

Judy Shreve said...

What great treasures -- and it will be fun to see how these find their way into your fabulous art!

Diane Lou said...

Thank you, Judy. And it's such cheap fun. Where can you go spend a couple hours shopping and only spend $30?! In you go to the drawing....which is actually Tuesday the first! Somehow my date watching was off.

lee said...

great finds Looking forward to seeing what you make!

Diane Lou said...

Some of them are already making the transition, Lee. Watch and see....