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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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Despite my promises to the contrary....

Despite my promises to the contrary, I have been quite bad about posting this month.

Earlier this month, I received the rather shocking and sort of paralyzing news that the cancer I had 2 1/2 years ago has returned in not a good way.  I continue to hold out positive hope for a happier prognosis than I was given, and am seeking alternative treatments and a second opinion to see if there are options other than a highly toxic chemo (the one I would get would be one of the worst).

The thing is, I still feel great, have good energy and am able to do all the things I love....spend time with my grandkids, make art, garden, go for long walks, spend time with my dear husband, and all the rest.  I'm just not willing to give that up for 6 months of extreme chemo which would kill my immune system and make me tired, weak and sick.   Oh, and did I mention that the chemo was not going to be curative?  So it would just prolong my illness.

So, since the news, I have spent as much time as possible with my grandkids, wringing the fullest out of every day we spend together.   It's quite a thing to deal with, as I'm sure many of you know either from your own experience or that of a loved one, and there are good days and bad.  Quite a roller coaster ride.

Now that that is out of the way, on to the important   Here are a couple photos of some started projects.  This one is really just in the "trying it on" phase with everything just stacked in place as I figure out what else is going to happen with this piece.  Since this photo, I have added a rich, tapestry-like fabric to the background of the golden frame.  Pieces included the wire swirls from a former candle holder which I cut off, a conical shelf holder with an elephant head on it, an old door plate, some plastic columns and roof line, all on some old weathered gray boards.

Here's another one in an even earlier stage of development.  The arches came from one of those decorative birdhouse pieces you often see at Goodwill which I disassembled.  It did have vertical wires in each of the archways.  The old dovetail box was a gift from friend Marlene (very old....the box, not Marlene), and the base piece which will be attached after the box is filled was a shelf piece from Goodwill.
I have a couple days this week to work on these projects and hopefully I have some progress to post about.

Summer has been beautiful since it arrived.  Truly lovely days.   I hope you are enjoying yours too!


rebeca trevino said...

Diane - I love your brave spirit! You are doing all the right things: being with the ones you love most, doing the things you love, and seeking second opinions and alternative treatments.

I know what you are going through only because I have dear friends who have endured the battles that you now are now battling. You GO girl!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Rebeca. Having a cheering squad really does help so much. Having cancer can be so isolating.

I gladly accept all positive energy, prayers or whatever else anyone wants to toss my way. They've helped before and will help again.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that your cancer has returned, but I sense your strong spirit and grounded soul doing what it must to work through all its challenges big and small. We are all rooting for you, holding you in the light of our positive wishes and energies directed your way.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Jackie. I know I have made the right decisions and appreciate all the support from you and everyone.

And, I love your new art! What a quantum leap forward!

Carol said...

Truly a roller-coaster ride! Diane I wish you all the best that friends and love and support and your brave spirit can conjure up. I'm 4 years out from colon cancer and there is always that tiny niggle in the back of my mind but like you I believe in living each day to the full. And my grandbabies are a great part of that.

Your two new pieces are looking very promising. every time I look at your work I want to rush out to my studio. Always inspirational, in more ways than just the art. Blessings. Carol xx

Diane Lou said...

Carol, I know what you mean....and I'm so glad you are doing well. I am a strong believer in the power of the mind, and wanting to be here for my grandchildren is a big part of my desire to be well! My oldest Abbie is 17, Jake is 11 and Gigi is 10 months...and I just love being a part of their lives and watching them grow.

Thanks so much, Carol. Take good care....

Ruth Armitage said...

Diane, I'm usually a silent reader, but felt compelled to comment on this post. I'm sorry to hear your news, but glad that you are facing it with courage and feeling well now. Sending you a virtual hug. Thanks for sharing your newest work; inspiring!

Diane Lou said...

I appreciate your hug, Ruth!

I am pursuing lots of alternative treatments that have worked for others, and as those who know me would tell you, I am a pretty tough lady! If anyone can muscle through this, I can.

The lesson learned is that all any of us have is today....whether we have cancer or we darned well better make the best of each day!

Glad you like the new work, Ruth.