Romancing the Anthropocene curated by Ivan Jurakic and Crystal Mowry

Tanks, 2013

Cal Lane - Putnam Valley, New York, USA


Oil Tank Map of the World, 2007

Lane’s sculptures involve the cutting of lace patterns into steel oil tanks and I-beams. Alternately strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, they confuse function and ornament,turningrecycled steel into emblems of a lost industrial age.

Extended Project: Revisit this project between October 6 – 14.

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Cal Lane’s sculptures juxtapose industrial materials with domestic elements. Their fabrication process involves the labour-intensive hand cutting of lace fabric patterns directly into recycled steel oil tanks and I-beams. Alternately strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolous, the sculptures deliberately confuse notions of function and ornament.

Lace has associations with both hiding and exposing — whether as a covering veil or revealing lingerie. It also has an association with purity when used in religious ceremonies, christenings, weddings and funerals. The dramatic contrast between lace and steel introduces a level of gravity and humour to the work. Like a wrestler in a tutu, the absurdity of these opposing extremes is meant to inspire a gut reaction rather than a rational response.

These contradictions suggest a process of opposition that creates a sense of balance as well as a clash between one's first impressions of the materials. The physical removal of material to reveal deliberately delicate patterns in the hard surfaces of large oil tanks and I-beams. The result is a desirable opposition, a transformation of recycled relics into heraldic emblems of a lost industrial age.

Suitable for all ages


David Pecaut Square, 221 King Street West

This project is outdoors.