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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, June 24, 2011

Summer, I stuff in the studio and garden

 A week or so ago,  I showed you the start of this piece with the wooden box with checkerboard pieces around the sides.  Well, now it is done and here is what has happened.  I've had to take side shots to keep the glare off the glass inside the 1950 Ford pickup dashboard "shrine".  With photos and transparencies, and the two copied together, I've come up with the image that you see.
 I also added the base piece,  ones I often find at the bins.  They are designed to be hung on the wall (upside down from the way I use them) and then a plate or some knickknack would be displayed on them.  I love them as base pieces.  The chain is from an antique cuckoo clock, with the key hanging on it, and the decorative wooden piece near the bottom was from a box I disassembled.
Here is a new piece in progress.  I have the bottom box to complete, but most of the rest is (I think) as it will remain.

It's been a very strange spring and summer, as it has been in many parts of the country.  Ours has taken the form of one day a week of sun, and the rest of the time cloudy and overcast with showers. Even spring gave us none of the "normal" warm, spring-like days we often have.  But, there are the usual treats as always, like this magnificent poppy and the wisteria.


rebeca trevino said...

DIANE! this one is terrific! i had to go back and see the 'start' of the piece, and now it all makes sense.
did you title it?

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Rebeca! I'm still thinking about a title on this one, but will keep you posted.

squidglass said...

It's interesting to watch you build your pieces, and learn where the various bits came from and what you are thinking as you assemble them. Thanks for sharing and adding another dimension to the art. And I just passed up one of those wooden shelf things you use as a base. I'll know what to do with it next time!

The poppy is gorgeous, and is that a ceramic horse head with the wisteria? Way cool.

Diane Lou said...

Su...thanks for all the comments. I always grab those "bases" when I see them as they make a nice balance for these boxes, especially when I have added something on top. They are often at garage/yard sales, as well as Goodwill.

As the poppy faded, it became even more papery and a dusty mauve color...gorgeous! Lots more buds, I am happy to say.

And yes, that is a wood-fired ceramic horse head with the wisteria.

We had two days of sun (but still barely 70), now it is cool and showery again...but good weeding weather for the long-neglected front yard.

Carol said...

I just love to see how you develop your wonderful structures. And that poppy - just divine. We are enjoying mostly mild days, not a lot of what you people would call winter, though we still complain when we think the temperature has dropped too much. But the garden keeps growing, bulbs are coming up and flowering and it really is a lovely time to be outside.

Diane Lou said...

It's fun hearing how different it is in your part of the world, Carol. Sometimes my focus gets a little narrow here, just focusing on all the things that need taken care of here and now. Your "winter" sounds wonderful, and how bulbs up! Do you grow the same kinds we do or do you have exotic things we have never heard of?

We are actually predicted to have mostly sun through the 4th of July weekend (our Independence Day) and through next week. Wow!