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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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Winner!

Well, finally, an announcement for the August winner of a small piece of my art....Jackie Gardener!  Jackie, if you'll email me at dianelou at  with your mailing address, I'll get the little piece in the mail to you.

Another new small piece (tall but small).  This one is tentatively called In the Samurai's Garden.
The tall (approx 20"), narrow (3 1/2") box is painted with a satin black paint.  Inside, first I put down a handwriting covered paper,which was then mostly covered by a rough white paper with bamboo strips on it (but the handwriting slightly shows through), and then a bit of black and gold at the top.  A rib bone donated by a friend (an animal bone, that is. I have good friends but not ones good enough to donate a rib) was inserted through the box after a bit of chipping, hacking and drilling, to get the opening to fit the bone.  Then some tiny hand-dipped candles that I purchased recently at a garage sale were hung over the bone.  Brass decorative elements were added top and bottom.

There may be one more thing added...a tiny bit of a reddish item on the right side where the black meets the white.

Back to the studio.  Will post some photos of all the new goodies found at garage sales and donated by friends.

Breathe in these last wonderful days of summer and enjoy!


rebeca trevino said...

congrats to jackie!

your new 'stuff' is awesome! congrats to you too!

this past weekend my husband and i helped a friend clean out an old barn that had been closed up for about 60 years and packed to the rafters with 'stuff'. unfortunately, much of it had to go to the dump as the barn had leaks. there was a lot of furniture and collectables that will be sold at the flea market . . . but, i was like a kid in a candy store. i know we were asked to help, because of my love of old 'stuff'.

i went away with a couple of trunk loads of really amazing things, vintage books, photos, watches, buttons, tools, metal things, like knobs, keys, etc. needless to say, i am thrilled! a bit overwhelmed, but thrilled.

made me happy to think about the hundred's or old barns full of 'stuff' around the world!

lucky us!

Diane Lou said...

Rebeca, you are so right. Lucky us! There will always be old "stuff" that no one else wants but us. There is no end to the treasures waiting to be found, and no end to the art we can make!

I am sooo jealous! OMG, a barn closed up for 60 years! What could possibly be more fun than that?

You are going to make lots of great new art with this stuff. Enjoy!