By her own admission Cal Lane works as a “visual devil’s advocate” using contradiction as a vehicle for finding her way to an empathetic image, an image of opposition that creates a balance – as well as a clash – by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials.
Born in Nova Scotia in 1968 Lane first trained as a hairdresser before the self confessed tomboy switched to welding, a vocation which she says ‘seemed to suit her better’. This mix of traditionally feminine and masculine vocations is encapsulated within her work evident in her collection of ‘industrial doilies’ as she explores gender stereotypes, contrast and contradiction – strong and delicate – masculine and feminine – practical and frivolity – ornament and function.
To date her pieces stand alone in capturing a delicacy and intricacy quite apart from her closest contemporaries. Lane clearly uses the notion of desirable oppositions and distortion of the familiar to evoke a reaction not rational understanding in her viewers; the rational discussion then arises in the search of how one thing defines the other by its proximity.
This estrangement of the familiar denies its viewer the luxury of a fleeting glance – there is no such thing when faced with the absurd nature of contradiction in our culture of ever increasing homogeny… it demands that the viewer STOP, question, think and experience.
Taking an array of reclaimed steel far beyond their industrial beginnings Lane is ‘a person with opposites in her head’. Intrigued by the notion of lace to both hide and expose at the same time her work has gradually taken a more political stance addressing war and the ‘guilt of the bystander’ as well as oil exploitation, religion, conservation and sustainability.
She says of her work, “I have always been interested in embracing the very thing that repels me in order to understand it: I prefer to make sense of things in order to suspend (or pass) judgement.”
Extremes, though contrary, have the like effects. Extreme heat kills, and so extreme cold: extreme love breeds satiety, and so extreme hatred; and too violent rigor tempts chastity, as does too much license. – George Chapman
For more information on Cal Lane visit her website: http://www.callane.com