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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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New starts...

The relatively empty walls in the studio have encouraged some new work which I snapped a few photos of yesterday.  The above piece once again uses a couple of those black finials (which I like so much!) that Su sent me in the goody box.  The entire piece measures about 18" tall and the black box is screwed into a wooden checkers/chess board that I cut down to a smaller size with the tabletop band saw.  The round wooden piece was from a recent bins trip, as was the old rusty compass.  No name yet for this one, but I think it is probably done.

 Though I seldom work in white, this one seemed to want that kind of a backdrop to show off the very simple, old, rusty pitchfork that friend Ray found for me.  While it is not done (I don't think), it will probably only have one addition, something hanging from the bent light socket.
This one is still very much in a state of flux with nothing but the background fabric glued down.  The picture is a little inadequate since it was sitting on the toolbench, not hanging on the wall, when I photographed it.

If you look at the lower left, you'll see a little system of gears which used to be a bright aqua plastic toy piece which I used the rusting materials on.  The little silver circular items hanging from the center of each arch are part of an old window-locking mechanism which I screwed into the top of the box.  On the right is an old black faucet handle (and oh, I should have taken a photo of that from the side) sitting on top of one of those great dials from the vintage gas pump I took apart a month or so ago.
What will go on the top and bottom of the piece remains to be discovered.

The sun is trying to come out and it looks like another beautiful fall day despite a forecast that did not sound so cheery.    Since we had some of our overgrown forest thinned a bit recently (see the wood stacking photos from the firing), the brightness is even more evident.  Wonderful...and the view is much improved too.


Deb Stone said...

The one in white has a good and evil struggle sense to it--the pitchfork or the light. Hand caught below but reaching for the light.

Love all your pieces, Diane. So rich and varied.

Diane Lou said...

I love your comment, Deb. Most people find it odd that when I am working on a piece I honestly have no notion of where it is going and usually don't see any "story" until the piece is completely done. Before that, it is just an unfolding.

Thanks, Deb.