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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, August 23, 2011

The Offering to the Oracle...

Here's a new work just finished.  You did see a "stacked together" version of it in its earlier iteration a few days ago, but things change...
As I think I mentioned before, I used two weathered boards for the background, which I fastened together with a couple small boards across the back.  The curly metal bits are from a candle holder which I removed the protruding candle holder part from.  The shelf with the elephant head underneath came just like that from the bins.  Above the shelf, I added an odd-shaped mirror frame that was (and remained) golden colored, and flanked it with two very heavy duty German scrap wings which are glued to the wood (and which I may fasten more securely with some kind of small brass nails to make sure they don't fall off).
Inside the frame, I put some tapestry-like fabric for a background, and then added a door plate with a vintage French doll's eye in the center.  Two spindles are mounted on the sides.

 Here's a detail shot of my "offerings".  A hornet's nest, the jawbone of an animal, 3 melted gold candles, and 3 small red fruits (wooden).
And here's the top.  I struggled a bit figuring out what should go up here, but ended up with the speedometer dial (loved the subtle colors which were mimicked in the tapestry) from a stash of ancient pickup parts.  The slot in it where the odometer reading would have been shows 2 eyes from a classic madonna (I've forgotten which artist) peering out, and her golden color picks up the wings and frame.  The circle did seem to just "float" there though, until I added an strip from a checkerboard to ground it a bit (and you'll notice in the top photo that I added one at the bottom too).

Hope you like it!


Carol said...

Wow! This is superb, really beautiful.

Diane Lou said...

I'm so pleased you like it, Carol! It was fun finally having it come together after sitting in a half-way state for a long time.