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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, March 29, 2011


Here's one of 2 new pieces, the other of which I'll put up tomorrow or  at least soon.

This square background (the box for a game that had numbers that flip up on all four sides, those obviously removed) seemed a little challenging to me at first and while I thought my chosen pieces were going somewhere, they never did.  So I scrapped them all and started from scratch working on the 4 little compartments around the outside....some tubes that I had glued images to and a chess board that had been sawed into small strips between them (bless that tabletop bandsaw Nils got me).  I also found the image of the penumbra (celestial shadow thing) which just seemed made to go into the center.  The little girl in the house shape had been a part of my original work, and I pulled her back into the scene, and liked her now that I had everything else in place.

The piece around the little girl...the house shape with the arched door and windows... was from a dollhouse.  The plastic part was "rusted" with my rusting solution and the cardboard backing was painted black, then covered with tissue paper with writing on it.

Although it is probably a little difficult to see in the photos, the cage-like part was added at the very end (originally part of some sort of lantern, the other half of which is in Damaged Goods), and I loved how it added dimension to the piece.  And interestingly, the cage does cast a shadow on her....
(Penumbra copyright by Diane Lou)


Carol said...

I'm learning so much from you, Diane, just hope that I can put it altogether when I make a start. I collect things and sometimes I can't see the point, but then something you do makes me realise that I have something similar or even totally different but I can still see the use for it. I love this new Penumbra piece.

Diane said...


Diane Lou said...

Thank you, Carol and Diane! Carol, you have no idea how happy your comment made me ("I'm learning so much from you"). Sometimes I feel like I am babbling into the wind while people read it yawning, so I'm so happy what I say has some least to you :)!
I know that for myself, when I am learning something new, I need to see and understand the process. It is just one of many tools you can then utilize to do your own work.