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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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strange Woman...

This is a new piece that has gone through several iterations (as have some of the pieces contained within).  It started with the book cover that says,  "The Strange Woman" from a book I found at the bins.  Other than the title, which I found evocative, the book really held no interest.  The cover of that book formed the background in both boxes, which are held together by screws.
The upper box is crowned by a "rusted" plastic child's crown (and  because they have such a lovely design, I wish I could find more of these). The golden wing was broken from a resin cherub, and screwed onto the back of the box. (See detail below).

The Strange Woman herself was made from a rusted Xmas ornament (the bottom) surrounded by a rusted plumbing piece, which was topped by a rusted plastic cake column (from a wedding cake) and a small round gourd from the bins, in which I inserted my favorite angel face.  Moss from outside the studio, and a bone wrapped in red thread complete the top.  Between the two boxes, there is metal piece from an antique adding machine.  For the bottom section, I used the lid from a tin, cut an opening in it, and inserted a photo of the legs of the same angel picture.

I have a bit of a nagging feeling that there still may be something to add.  I don't know what, but I will know it when I see it.

Spring may perhaps finally be arriving here, with more sun and slightly warmer temps.

I'm sorry I've been "away" too much....lots of other things going on here at the moment.  Hopefully May will be better!  Don't forget the drawing on the 1st for a goodie bag of assemblage possibilities!  Just post a comment to enter.


Ruth Armitage said...

Hi Diane,
So interesting to hear about how these pieces come together.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Ruth! And I did figure out what was needed.

And friend Su did find a source for the crowns! I ordered a dozen.

Carol said...

This is a very elegant piece, I do like it a lot. I love hearing what you use - each piece is quite a lesson to me as a raw beginner. Hope your spring is truly beautiful.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Carol! Spring has finally come and yes, it is breathtakingly beautiful here....all the trees in bloom, the azaleas starting, the bulbs all flowering...gorgeous. And we are finally getting some warmth and sun!