Artist Dave Lane is a character. Lane, a friendly and inviting person, becomes extremely loquacious when talking about his art. The more he gets going, the more he incorporates movement, gestures and emphatic sound effects into his anecdotes and explanations.
Lane’s latest exhibit “Out of Space,” on display at the Nelson Gallery in the Art Building until Mar. 8, certainly reflects his big personality.
“The scientific method is supposed to be objective, but it really isn’t,” Lane said. His interest in science is apparent in his artwork, as is his desire to challenge our assumptions of the world around us.
The gallery floor is dominated by large sculptures made of old industrial materials, but the narrative behind the art is unexpected. Lane’s description of the first piece began simply with him saying, “This is a spaceship.“
Though perhaps it’s not the first thought the viewer might jump to, the otherworldly concept is consistent in all the sculptures. Lane’s vision is extremely detailed, apparent as he excitedly characterized his interpretations of castaway machinery parts. Hanging beneath a piece called “Grandma Earth,” which Lane described as a traveling planet, are pieces of metal he identifies as angels, a volcano, an energy source and the spirits of his deceased grandparents.
However, the mammoth sculptures that crowd the room are not the only media with which Lane works.
“I find that when I write on things, people spend more time in front of it,” Lane said, referring to the hanging artwork collection called “Family Secrets” that deviates from the massive sculptures. His criss-cross method of writing to concurrently display two different viewpoints is only one of the many intricate steps he takes to create a piece.
To only investigate the industrial constructions would be a shame. Framed sheets of paper cover the walls; some feature minute depictions of the sculptures and some have words written into geometrical shapes. Lane calls these pieces his maps: “The vehicles I take my trips in; maps are what I found,” he said.
“How do I react to things that are new to me?” Lane confessed to asking himself.
The answer came to him in the form of the collection on the north wall. The suspended boxes three-dimensionally depict the adventures of the naked lady who, the artist said, lives in his head.
“The pieces sort of play the history of the earth,” he said of the art that took him several years to create. Lane also mentioned that he hopes his art has the ability to inspire exploration and innovation, and to give viewers a new sense of perspective.
Laura KroegerPhoto by Liam O’Donnell