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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, March 10, 2012

Beyond Embarrassing....

Yes, it is.  Nearly a month since my last post.  My only excuse is that for most of the past couple months, 5 days of each week have seen grandchildren here (which I love).  But the "leftover" days pretty much are used to just rest up and catch up before starting all over again.  Now it seems the familial calls may be decreasing a bit giving me a bit of time to rest and recuperate.

Nils is off to central Oregon today to attend the memorial for his son-in-law Bill who died of esophageal cancer.  You may recall, my son-in-law (also Bill) died about 20 months ago of stomach cancer.  Too much....

On to better news, we did actually have two days of beautiful sunshine which started to bring out the flowering trees with their clouds of white and pink, and of course the daffodils, crocus and other early bulbs.  Ah spring....

Needless to say, I haven't had much studio time, but did manage to finish up 2 pieces a couple weeks ago which I will show below.
 No Further Comment
This one used an old clock face, a plastic piece of Roman numerals from another clock face, a vintage camera bellows and tool (on the left of the bellows), a cuckoo (above the right corner of the bellows), a vintage image and a rusted steel bar.
I've had this little box sitting around for ages, and kept thinking it was just too trite to put a bunch of little "stuff" in it.  Then I started pulling out small items that inspired me, and I had fun putting together "The Muse's Storage Box".  I love all the weird things....the old typewriter eraser in the upper left, down to things from the forest and the seashore, to a run-over pencil, a broken bird egg, mechanical things and more....all of which inspire me.  Then there are the two little, very old rusty wheels I attached to the bottom (and which were hard to "use up").

Well, that's it for today.  Think I'll head for the studio and do more cleaning in prep for more creativity.  I donated away 7 boxes of stuff recently and it really didn't even make a dent in my stash.  But cleaning and going through things always inspires new work....and I hope it does that again.

Happy spring!


Rebeca Trevino said...

welcome back. i was wondering where you disappeared to...yes grand kids trump most everything else...don't they?
love your new pieces, especially the "Muse Box"! funny, i'm working on a similar piece -a few years ago someone gave me a vintage printer's tray, and last week i cut it into 3 smaller trays (somehow the whole thing seemed too daunting in the number of cubby holes)... and i am slowly filling each one with small precious things as i come across them in my studio.
i will post it soon. when you see it tell me what you think, would ya!

Diane Lou said...

Hi Rebeca,
Well, as usual, great minds think alike! Can't wait to see your box too. It's a fun way to use up some of those tiny precious things we hang on to.

I'll be watching for your box