Cal Lane, ‘Shovel’, 2016, Watermill Center Summer Benefit Auction 2016

Skewering the malleability of gender norms, Cal Lane spins industrial tools and steel into delicate filigree. Her sculptures explore the relationship between the functional and the “frivolous,” where industry and decorative domesticity are forcibly joined by fire. The 2016 work Shovel alludes to the use of lace in christenings, weddings, and funerals. Works by Lane have been shown at Art Mûr, Montréal, Benrimon Contemporary, New York, and Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Massachusetts.

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist

About Cal Lane

Cal Lane, who trained as a welder before studying art, transforms industrial steel products, like Dumpsters, oil drums, and I-beams, into improbably lacey, delicate works of sculpture. She has been compared to Richard Serra, famous for his propped, torqued, and spiraling steel sculptures. Unlike Serra, however, Lane cuts ornate patterns into the steel, opening up its surface to light and air. Through her work, she challenges gender stereotypes by combining the “masculinity” of steel and welding with the “femininity” of lace-like, decorative patterning. She also produces works with a critical edge. In Fossil Fuel (2009), for example, she cut a map of the world into an oil tank. As she explains, she is drawn to the meanings old objects carry: “They come with their own narrative, a narrative that on some level we can all connect to.”

Canadian, b. 1968, Halifax, Canada, based in Putnam Valley, New York