It’s hard to imagine two more dissimilar items than lace and steel, but artist and welder Cal Lane has managed to combine both in her form of art. Lane burns delicate lace-like patterns into reclaimed steel objects. Using a blow torch as a subtractive tool, she burns pieces of steel away to reveal baroque patterns in mundane objects such as shovels, car parts, dumpsters and old oil drums. Explaining her work, she says “I like to work as a visual devil’s advocate, using contradiction as a vehicle for finding my 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.”
Lane describes herself as “a person who always has opposites in my head.” That statement captures the essence of much of Lane’s “welding into lace” work. For instance, she pushes the dichotomy between feminine and masculine by combining patterns of domesticity with traditional symbols of masculine blue collar labor. Other dichotomies one can pull from Lane’s work include the industrial versus the fanciful, the opaque versus the transparent, the strong versus the delicate.
Lane cites her “guilt of a bystander… (while) living in a time of war” as motivation for her recent work becoming more political. In “5 Benevolent Cans” Lane took discarded oil cans and split them open into shapes reminiscent of crosses. She then burned religious iconography patterns into the cross-like forms. In “Fossil Fuel” Lane plasma-cut a map of the world into a large oil tank.