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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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Drawing winner, and Day of the Dead

September's winner is Tabor!  I think I have your address here, but better email me at dianelou at earthlink dot net with your mailing info.  Congratulations!

Above you'll see a new piece I created for the Chehalem Cultural Center's Day of the Dead show this month (See dates on show section on sidebar). I have a fascination with the DOTD pieces...something so sad, yet so appealing about them. This one is very tall and skinny, but I love how it turned out.
 Below is a detail of the section right below the faux tintype.  Yes, that is a real hummingbird (who sadly died in my neighbor's garage) sitting atop the red-string-wrapped bone.
 And here is a closer look at the top section.  Some coppery strips flank the tintype along with metal wings.  The top is one of those great black plastic finials that blog reader Su sent me (perfect, Su!), and some ancient holiday spires I found in the bins one day.  The white turned wood pieces along the side came from that yard sale where I bought a ton of stuff for $40 (about a month ago), and these peeling pieces were from the sides of an old crib.
Tomorrow I'll deliver to my new gallery in Portland.  More pieces out the door.


squidglass said...

Lovely! And poignant.

When you say faux tintype, did you make it? Maybe scanning and printing and transferring to metal using one of the processes in your book? I really like the look.
And sweet to see my old finial in your piece :)


Diane Lou said...

I didn't make the faux tintype but it was given to me by friend Tammy at Michael deMeng's workshop. I regret to say I have blanked out show she did, but will get in contact with her or another friend, and get the directions. I think it looks just as good as the real thing, even up close.

And yes, your finial was perfect for the top of the piece, and I was so glad it wasn't some big heavy metal thing to figure out a secure attachment for.