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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.
At this time, I have no workshops scheduled. But if you are interested, email me and let me know you'd like to be on the list. And, of course, the info about any workshops will be posted on the blog several times. Thanks for your interest!
"What marvelous work! Dreamlike and full of mysterious archetypes. A wonderful mind must make these things! ..K.S.
"These works are springboards to remembering."... L.H.
"Your cabinets of curiosities are strangely disturbing and delightfully compelling—all at the same time. What I liked most was that I could not determine WHICH elements were serving which of those roles..." V.M.
"My internal monologue went a bit like this: 'These are great! I love them!...why do I bother making assemblages?...well, it's a relief in a way, because here's someone who can do it for me...I wonder if she's a student....I bet she's like 19. Rrr.' Well, she's not 19, she's older than me, and her work is an inspiration to make art instead of think about it!"...MacArtWalk blog reviewer.
"As one who looks at art on a daily basis, (my) palpable reaction was rare and unanticipated. Her constructions create familiar, even comforting, but strange and uncanny juxtapositions of the homely rendered beautiful through the transformative property of suggestion."...Brian Winkenweder, Ph.D.
I'm having the time of my life...that's how I would describe my days. Finding Nils, my wonderful artist husband almost five years ago now, having a studio and time to create art, having my family all nearby, living in a setting that surrounds me with nature's beauty no matter where I turn, having unique and creative friends who support and understand my art, and lastly, being able to share my enthusiasm for fearlessly creating art by teaching workshops. Perfect!
(Offering to the Oracle...just sold)
The march of time is inevitable, of course, but at no time am I more aware of that than at the beginning of a new year. I can scroll through my past year's blog posts for a reminder if I need one. Watching bins finds being brought home and then used, watching pieces being created bit by bit, seeing the list of shows participated in, seeing building projects evolve and gardens grow, then die and be put to bed for winter.
This year will see my oldest granddaughter Abbie, who will soon be 18, graduate from high school then move away to college. It's going to be a toughie for her mom...and for me as I had her with me part of nearly every day during at least the first 10 or 12 years of her life. Grandson Jake will be 12 and is already thinking he'll ask a girl to the middle school's semi-formal dance (whoa, how did that happen so quickly!). And then Gigi (Geneva) is still a toddler, learning words, figuring out her world, tasting it all, learning about gravity and all the other great laws of life while we watch entranced.
Looking back at my goals for last year, I had hoped to sell more art (which I did....21 pieces in all which I consider to be a lot since my art only appeals to certain people)...and to get into Local 14, a large women-only Portland show (which I did). I'm sure there were more goals in there, like solving all the world's problems, doing away with corruption in government and business, ending war, figuring how to feed all the world's starving and hungry people, curing cancer and a hundred other diseases and more...but I didn't get it all accomplished. Worthy goals to move on to 2012.
After a few more days' break, I'll be fully back into the studio to make new work for the new year as the time to submit to new shows is just around the corner.
We are blessed to be warm, safe, sheltered and well fed, and know that such should be the case for everyone. Our wish for this year. Love to all of you....