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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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Assemblage jumpstart....

With the Local 14 show coming up, I decided I wanted to create a bunch of small pieces which hopefully will sell well, and at the same time I thought I'd show you my process.  I start by just pulling out lots of small wooden boxes, and assorted small "stuff" that is really too small to show up in a large piece.  Here's a part of the table I set up just for this project.
Next I decided to create a big collage (about 24x30 on matboard) for backgrounds.  It is also a way for me to "backtrack" and get back to my roots of collage....and it is a jumpstart for these small pieces. 
The next step is to identify some interesting areas that could be cropped out of this collage.  I measure a few boxes and then start cutting out an appropriately sized piece.
 I prepare the box for the image by spreading glue all over the inside, then put the image inside and weight it until the glue dries.  The box will now be waiting for the addition of some 3-D objects.
Here I pick out a small piece of the collage for another small box.
This photo shows 3 boxes with backgrounds glued in and awaiting the dimensional objects that will complete them.
Here's a small one that's complete.  Finished size is about 4x4 inches.
And here's what's left of the big collage.  Plenty for more backgrounds.
Will announce that August winner tomorrow.  Stay tuned!


Pam McKnight said...

great post, thanks for sharing! I too am getting ready for a big show and am making lots of small assemblages.
good luck and have fun!

squidglass said...

Great idea for starting some small pieces. Think I'll try it. Thanks!

Diane Lou said...

Thanks! Glad it jumpstarted you. I think it's good when you are just not sure when/where to start. Even if you don't end up using the collage in all the pieces, it just gets you moving..

Diane Lou said...

Gee, Pam, I did post a response to your comment, but I see that somehow it didn't show up.
Have fun with your "smalls" and good luck on your show!