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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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New and small....

As I've been talking about, my free days have been spent in the studio working on a bunch of "smalls" for the upcoming Local 14 show.  So, here are some photo updates for you:
This one, unnamed for now, is in a tall skinny box (about 20" in all), with another small box on top that contains some round red ceramic-type piece that I don't even remember picking up. Off the bottom hangs a fishing lure with red beads on the wire.  

And a detail:
In the background, you can see part of the collage I made at the beginning of this process, and a wonderful zipper Nils found for me at a garage sale one day (out of a pair of boots, I think).

Here's another, tentatively titled Miles to Go.  It starts with a shallow box for a background, then some old barn boards on top of that, that a small drawer for the main container (see the small white knob on top?).  Shoe forms flank the sides, some sort of red military epaulet (I think) graces the top, and from the bottom hangs an old leather bag with vintage letters inside.  
 Here's a detail of what is inside the box.  A lichen covered twig with a piece of old cloth measuring tape wrapped around it, and tied with a piece of red string.  Behind in the box is a map. Total height about 18" (guessing).
Last night I attended a meeting in Portland for the Local 14 show.  It should be fantastic having seen a powerpoint presentation of all the wonderful work.  As a guest artist, I have to work 9 hours during the weekend, so I'll be hanging around Portland quite a bit that weekend of the end of Sept/beginning of Oct but it should be fun.

I hope you are all having some creative time.  We are having a heat wave (for us)...near 90.  Found a dead flicker by one of the front windows, a crash I am sure, so I'll keep you updated on what I did with it.  For right now, suffice it to say that the wings and feet are in silica gel, and the body is being taken care of by the yellow jackets (and I hope to retrieve the skull and beak at least.  Pictures to follow if it doesn't gross you out too much :)

Oh, and poor Felix had to have surgery and a tooth pulled, so here he is in his misery. I always feel so sorry for animals with these cones on.


matters that matter said...

gorgeous how keep coming up with new magic.

rebeca trevino said...

diane, when i see that you have a new post, i am thrilled, because i know that i am going to see something terrific . . . and i was not disappointed today.
my best to Felix . . .

ps i found a dead blue jay the other day, and i too am waiting for nature to do it's magic . . . what is "silica gel"?

Diane Lou said...

Oh, thank you, Kristine! I miss seeing you, my dear, but love reading your posts on FB. Always insightful and just what I need to hear at the moment.

Diane Lou said...

Rebeca, you are so sweet! I'll give Felix a little love from you.

Silica gel is the powdery substance that is used to dry flowers. You can just bury the flowers (or dead bird parts, but probably not the main body with organs intact) in it in a box (or dead bird parts, but probably not the main body with organs intact), seal it up and let it dry. The silica gel sucks the moisture out completely. And it can be reused.

My neighbors found a dead hummingbird they gave me and I did bury it fully in the silica gel, and it was so tiny, it did dry out OK.

Thanks again, Rebeca.