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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 7, 2011

Something new....

It's another perfect summer day here, in the mid-70's.  Thank goodness!  I don't know how some of you are tolerating the record-breaking heat.

 Grandson Jake has returned to his mom for the next few days before his next stay here in the country, so I managed to go take a few photos of some of my work in progress and some nearing completion which I'll share with you in the coming days.

This one started with a box which came back into use when I disassembled a piece made about 3 years ago that I was no longer happy with.  It was a black box back then too, but that's about where the similarity ends.

I inserted some of my favorite checkerboard pieces in the narrow top space, and in the 3 boxes down at the bottom.  Two of the bottom ones are "popped forward" by gluing a block behind them.

The detail is a little hard to see, but there is a taxidermy hoof on the left  (by the hand) which is held up by old rusty horseshoe nails driven into the box.  The hand may or may not be in its permanent location.  The background is made from an old faded tapestry-type cloth which was cut to size and glued in.

In the bottom boxes (also still subject to change) are, from left: an African animal figure with a wax seal on twine hung around his neck;  in the middle, a billiards ball in some sort of light-bulb-holder; and on right, a bone, a rusty white dried rose, and two small bottles with vintage labels.

I think the title is "Lamentations", but I am not sure yet.  This definitely is not finished, but it is getting close.

I must admit this summer has not been my most productive in the studio, but there has been lots of grandson time, some golf (I am a horrible player, but I still like it), lots of gardening, projects around the property, and just plain old lazy reading days.

This month's giveaway will be a small piece of art, so stay tuned and post a comment to get into the drawing!


matters that matter said...

great piece...

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Kristine!

Dayna Collins said...

Oh boy oh boy, I can see we are both bit hounds, the rustier the better! Great assemblages. You certainly would have loved the sale I posted about (and you commented on!).

Diane Lou said...

It looked absolutely amazing, the dream sale!


Carol said...

Somehow I missed this piece. What a fascinating collection, and put together with such style. Love it!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, Carol. I'll post an updated pic of the finished (and a little altered) piece.