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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.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Game of Chance details

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided that I needed to start using some of my metal bits and pieces...or else get rid of them, so here is a start.

If you'll look back two days at the post of Game of Chance, you can see where these changes occurred on the bottom part of the piece.  There are two sort of creepy wooden figures (former spoon and fork) flanking each side of the box, so I decided to give them a little more connection to the piece.  I used a metal piece from an old 100-key adding machine (oh my, what a treasure trove of odd-shaped pieces), used its spring to connect it to the on/off switch, and then used a wire (also from the adding machine) to connect the metal bit to the wooden character.  To me, it changed the whole feel of the piece because now the wooden character seems to have some control over your Game of Chance.

On the right-hand side, I also used a piece of the wire and another small metal part to connect the figure, this time to the old bottle full of dice and rusty nails.  I just poked a hole into the cork and inserted the wire in with a little glue to help hold it.

To me it is interesting how the smallest changes or details can either make or break a piece. Too often, it seems, I see art in which the artist has just felt the need to add pieces, but those pieces add nothing to the final artwork, and they become instead, the kiss of death to the piece.  Each ingredient in the piece should have something to add to the narrative of the art.


Pam McKnight said...

How's always the finishing of the piece that is harder than the start. Thanks for sharing!

Diane Lou said...

I think it is the knowing when to quit that is the biggie! Knowing when enough is just enough. Thanks! I'll post the entire picture of the now complete piece tomorrow.