For current posts, scroll down past artist's statement.

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, December 1, 2011

Clocks and looms....

We've been blessed with glorious sunshine for much of the past few weeks, very unusual for us this time of year when the rain, clouds and darkness normally descend for weeks on end.  It has made my usual seasonal depression lift and for me to face the days with energy and excitement.  Scrubbing decks, moving firewood, working in the studio, cleaning out more of the garden, cleaning off the driveway...all have seemed doable and have been done.

One thing I have noticed is that when the low winter sun is shining directly in the windows, every piece of dust, every fingerprint, every cat hair shows up on the furniture, on the tables and counters and floor.  Housecleaning has seldom risen above the lower rungs of my priorities list (although I love a clean house, I don't want to be the one doing it all), so the newly visible neglect has made me do more cleaning than normal too.

December 1st marks my oldest daughter's birthday as well as letting me know that solstice is just 3 short weeks away!  Then the days begin to get longer....Such a relief.  At times, I feel like a primitive person must have felt who perhaps did not understand the cycle of the seasons and did not know that spring would return.

Anyway, I have made some time in the studio and here's what's new.
Oops, I should have rotated this I guess, but you get the picture (no pun intended).  Remember the large clock face I picked up at the bins a month or so ago...about 15" across.  It is replica, a paper face mounted on wood, but with all the appropriate crackling and scratching one might expect on a really old clock face.  The dark part is part of resin clock with Roman numerals on it.  I used the other part of it in a work that I sold...and I cannot now remember the title.  At this point, I have just fastened the rusty metal bar to the clock with bolts.
 Here it is, right side up.  I still haven't decided how to attach the dark, Roman numeral part of it.  On top of the rusty metal piece, you will see a wooden part from a cuckoo clock that also came from the bins, and on the left, an old camera bellows I purchased from friend Tabor (and which is very hard to use because I like it so much!).
 In this detail shot, you can see a tiny cuckoo (from the same clock) that I attached to the bellows.  Now to figure out how to put it all together and what to put inside that inviting space inside the bellows.
 Months ago, I picked up this very old, hand carved loom piece (just the wooden parts without all the other stuff) at the bins.  This is the start I am finally making.  Oh my, there are those little black plastic finials (thanks, Su...again) fastened on, and that metal curlique I got at my last bins trip seemed just perfect to attach to the bottom (I drilled holes in the wood and wired it on from the back), which I realized the second I got it home and in the studio.  Now what?
I found the old wooden oval while rummaging around in the old studio one day.  Finally, it seems like this is the place for it.  And then we'll see where this all goes....

Oh my, giveaway time again too.  Will pick a name and a prize and post that tomorrow, I hope.


Sara said...

Diane...I am thrilled to have found your blog. I have lost touch but certainly haven't forgotten that you inspire me!



Diane Lou said...

Good to hear from you! Thanks, Sara.
hugs back....