Cal Lane | Sweet Crude

Cal Lane | Sweet Crude

March, 2018

On her ranch studio in New York’s Putnam Valley, artist Cal Lane directs a high-speed plasma stream at a discarded oil drum. The first few sharp strokes of plasma free the top and bottom rings from the 55-gallon drum, unrolling the shell to reveal a flatter, more workable surface. From there, Lane begins the intricate part of her job, excising delicate patterns seamlessly from the steel—lace, floral motifs and depictions of various sexual acts—until the entire shell begins to look more like the prurient fringe of a Victorian tablecloth than a byproduct of the petroleum industry. On March 8, 2008, Cal Lane will show her work in "Sweet Crude," an exhibition of plasma-cut steel (including the aforementioned oil drums) at Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica.

Plasma cutting is a process by which steel can be precision-cut using a stream of electrically charged inert gas. This stream of ionized gas –the plasma– moves so rapidly that, in addition to exacting clean incisions on the material, it completely removes any resulting detritus from the work area. Plasma cutters are revered for their surgical precision, but the machines are also notoriously difficult to manage. Cal Lane however – with more than a decade of steel working experience under her belt – turns the trade into fine art.

In preparation for "Sweet Crude," Cal Lane wielded the plasma cutter to transform a host of industrial relics – from the small (shovels and gas cans) to the large (dumpsters, 55-gallon drums, car doors) to the architectural (I-beams) – into works of art. The result of Lane’s unique sculptural process is best described (in her own artist statement) as “an image of opposition that creates a balance - as well as a clash - by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials. This is manifested in a series of Industrial Doilies, pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function.”

Patricia Faure Gallery is delighted to present Cal Lane’s first exhibition on the West Coast. She has previously shown throughout the Northeast, with recent exhibitions in New York, Washington D.C., Toronto, and Montreal.

March 8 - April 12, 2008