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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, February 7, 2011

Game of Chance

Game of Chance is another new piece from the past couple days.  Do you see the rather forbidding figures flanking the spinning dial (the spoon and fork from the bins the other day) and the white, very old finial on top also from the recent shopping.
The surface holding the spinning dial (a game piece that was altered by replacing the center with a Viewmaster slide circle, with slides removed and various other tiny images inserted) is raised off the checkerboard background to give more depth and interest to the piece. I do this by gluing or screwing wood blocks below.  The fiery wings which rather match the color on the John Ruskin cigar box end are Lego  bits (I think).  Below the spinning dial are 3 green bulb things which were gleaned from a box at the bins, as was the on/off switch at the center bottom.  A rusty chain finishes it off.

I have to say one of my favorite tools besides a battery-powered drill is the new bandsaw my husband bought me for Xmas.  We found it at the Habitat ReStore.  It's a table-top model, so fairly small, but it was brand new and was priced at $45...and we had a 50% off coupon for that day so $22.50.  It is fabulous for cutting things like that checkerboard, cutting the spoon and fork ends off the figures.  It makes it all so fast and effortless that I am doing things I never would have done if I had to struggle with sawing small bits by hand.  Thanks, Nils!  I didn't know I needed it until I had it!!

Since the photo, I've added a very funky bottle in the lower right, filled with dice and rusty nails.  It has the cork attached by a rustic leather strap...something someone's grandfather collected his rusty nails in.

Off to the studio for more creating.


Pam McKnight said...

looks great, maybe I need a bandsaw! :)

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Pam, and yes, you would love a small bandsaw. I use mine at least 10 times a day when I am in the studio. And they can cut plastic too....
In the drawing you go....

Carol said...

Now I want a bandsaw too. So interesting to see how you used some of those great bin finds.

Diane Lou said...

Mine is a Craftsman (Sears). I know they are over $100 if you buy one new through Sears, but I'm sure there are used ones around. We really lucked out on the price.
Thanks, Carol.