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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, March 4, 2011

Laps to go...

Here's a new little, kind of weird piece.  Every now and then, I dig out a bunch of small wooden boxes and just start putting things in them and putting little mini assemblages together.
This one is about 7"x7" (am not near it to measure it at the moment) and utilizes some "rusted" plastic architectural elements, a game dial and "99" (both plastic and rusted), and two resin fish, which I cut in half on the band saw.  I glued half of each one on the inside and half on the outside so it looks like they are swimming through the box.  A map piece covers the inside back of the box.

These "smalls" are a fun creative exercise when nothing big is going on, or when I just have a short period of time to work/play.  They are also a good way to utilize  small items I have collected which would be lost in a larger piece.  Try it!

(Laps to Go copyright by Diane Lou)


Carol said...

It may be kind of weird but it's also really nice. I love the fish swimming through the timber. Inspirational to a newbie like me. Thanks, Diane.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Carol! Sometimes things are weirder than others ;)

rebeca trevino said...

Love this whole effect . . . the fish, mystery of the "99" all very kool!

but tell me - you used glue to attach the fish? i'd be afraid they would get knocked off?? do tell what kind of glue?
love this piece1

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Rebeca. I did use the WeldBond, (and of course, am afraid they will get knocked off. Even though you can't see it, I sometimes (and did) use some excess glue, so that it squishes out when I push the pieces together, then I sprinkle garnet sand in the glue. It makes a much stronger base to hold a piece in place.
PS. Garnet sand is the residue from the mines where garnets come from. Found a gallon jar of it at a rummage sale about 20 years ago and still have a bunch.

rebeca trevino said...

wow, now that IS interesting. garnet sand? who knew? or better question, where did you learn this great?

i've done a similar technique on some of my pieces, but i was able to use wood screws. i am sure you thought of this too.

ps: hows the tree house coming along. would love to see the finished product. how fun for your grandson.

Diane Lou said...

Actually Keith LoBue often uses sand (doesn't have to be garnet) around his attachments more as an embellishment, but I tried the idea and found it make the attachment a lot stronger.

The fish are plaster, so screwing them in wouldn't work, but I wish it would have :)!

The treehouse is about done except for 8 very high boards that we are waiting on some young friends to help with. Will post some photos. It's been a great project for us to do with Jake.