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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 17, 2011

A vintage gas pump...

While in Portland this week, I stayed with friend Jennifer.  Part of our agenda was to visit friends and fellow artists, Tabor and Greg, and shop a bit from Tabor's inspired collection of stuff.  So off we went....

After we finished drooling over everything (and all too often lusting after the same items), we made some choices, and here is one of mine, a vintage gas pump. Here's how it went as we  (Jake and I, and then Nils at the end) disassembled it.  When I bought it, I thought there must be lots of stuff inside as it was quite heavy.  And, of course, all those intriguing dials showing held a lot of promise.  Here's the sequence of disassembly:
Above you see it as it started out with a hand crank on the side and several sets of dials.
 Here we have the front off...and I find the front very intriguing in itself.
 The next level back gives us a peek at what's inside.
 Luscious little dials with brass gears on the sides.
 And more....
 After some struggle, more wonderful dials.
 And lots of bits and pieces at the end.

Tabor and Greg,  the time at your home was absolutely entrancing!  Lovely food, good conversation, captivating surroundings, and good shopping.  What could be better?


buddyboy said...

Hi Diane. It was a pleasure having ov er. I love what you found inside the gas pump. I am sure you will put it to good use. Anytime you'd like to come by just let me know.

Pam McKnight said...

wow, at first I was thinking, "What is she going to do with that?" and then what treasures you found inside. Very Cool!

Carol said...

Treasure indeed! I love that process of pulling things apart and seeing what's inside. Now I want an old gas pump.

Diane Lou said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. It held so many good pieces I'll be using in future pieces.