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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, June 2, 2011

Right under my nose....& new work

Lately I've been bemoaning the slim pickings at the Goodwill "bins", my favorite go-to place for "stuff".  I come home with a few odds and ends each time, but nothing unique that really inspires me to create.

So, yesterday I went down to the old studio, a huge building holding the remnants of the 36 years my husband has lived here (I've only been here 4) but a building no longer used for much.  There are boxes of nails that have rusted with years under a leaky roof, bits of wood and metal, a couple rooms full of excess art, and then lo and behold!....a find....right under my nose.
 Eureka!  OMG!  Cool!!  Beautiful rusty dashboard parts from the 3 (yes, 3) 1950 Ford pickups my husband gathered together at one time to put together one complete one.  Gauges....all suitably aged.  The wonderful arched pieces that immediately called to mind shrine-shaped openings...and they come apart so each one provides 3 pieces I can use.  And even a speedometer dial....up to 80 mph!
Oh, then the glass and metal arches (the glass that would have covered the dashboard gauges).  Be still my heart.  Can you tell I was thrilled with these new acquisitions?

When I first showed them to my husband, he said, "Oh, I could probably sell these on ebay to someone restoring an old truck" (His is finally finished after 15 years!), but I'm sure the crestfallen look on my face made him quickly say, "but you can have them if you want them."  You bet I do!

I've already started a piece which will utilize them.  Here's just the start....I'll show you the rest as it comes together.  Suffice it to say, one of the arched pieces will go inside.
Love my tabletop bandsaw for slicing up those checkerboards.

And here's a piece I think I consider finished.  Tentatively titled "Stepping Out", but subject to change.
Pam McKnight, please contact me so I can send your winner's print to you.  Everyone remember to post this month for a giveaway of my Transfers and Transparencies book!  Hope everyone's weather has settled down, and that you aren't melting, washing or blowing away, or staying cold like we are.


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I *LOVE* the goodies you found! Great day--I'd be in that building rooting like a hog and never come out! LOL!
Happy art making with all the luscious tidbits, and yes, I am duly (and in a healthy manner) envious.... :-)


rebeca trevino said...

OMG is right! these pieces sound wonderful! i can't wait to see what you come up with.
thanks for sharing, and reminding me that i have 'sheds' of my own to investigate . . .

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Anne. I guess before I came here (B.D. as we refer to that time....Before Diane) there was wayyyy more stuff in there, much of which got hauled away. I shudder to think of what I might have found in that stash!

Diane Lou said...

Yes, Rebeca, we need to remember that sometimes the best stuff is right in front of us....especially if you have sheds of your own to check out.

I have so much stuff, but sometimes it just takes a certain something to kickstart me again!....and I never know what that is going to be.

Pam McKnight said...

These are great goodies! I went to our local bins the other day but didn't find much more than some wood I can use. Well was I surprised to see my name! Thank you! I will email you my address and I "liked" you on FB! (Every Little Thing) is my FB page. thanks again!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Pam! I'll check out your FB page... and I'll send your print as soon as I have your address. Congratulations!

squidglass said...

Sweet find! You may need to do an archeological dig in the old building. And I really like the checkerboards in the sides of the box- perspective gives them a speedy checkered-flag feeling.