As with all artists in our collection, I invite those who have collected works by specific artist to share pictures of those pieces, and as much detail such as title and dimensions with which you are comfortable. If for no other reason, putting images of collected works out on the Internet makes them accessible to art students who want to know what it is that collectors care about. Many artists work seems to become invisible once they move out of the area in which they have sold their art, move on to other interests, or, sadly grow old, stop painting and/or die. If collected art is to have any real meaning, the images of it must transcend the time in which it is created and sold. I welcome any images sent to me for purposes of being included in these pages. Call me at (916)383-5341. (We answer with a business name (Forensics Lab Supply), but it is still us.
For several years in a row, the Art Exhibit at the California State Fair and Exhibition has included very large assemblages by Dave Lane. The works are made mostly of steel gathered from agricultural areas. There is some rust and some paint that had been applied to prevent rust. In many ways, the works are intimidating … even threatening. They are machines in and of themselves … machines made to do the work of the Universe. The work for the year, 2011, was titled Grandma Hejaz. In the Artist’s Statement, Dave writes, “Grandma Hejaz is essentially a large mobile volcano, used to heat planet cones during their construction. Other devices bring in material which is deposited like the cone of a motor, generating a magnetic field to ward off radiation when the planet is complete. The device is ignited only every several hundred years, leaving time for those pine trees to grow up on the ignition cone of Grandma Hejaz. Around these trees, in the north region, the lady fire-folk dance. When it comes time to ignite the machine, the men in the southern polar region begin to migrate north, and when they ‘hook-up’ with the ladies, the cone bursts into flames, igniting the volcano. This burns up the trees and everything! … but leaves the little baby fire-folk to grow up with the trees during the next cycle of ignition in a hundred years.”
Dave is currently working on a massive piece described here: http://www.thecjm.org/on-view/currently/lamp-of-the-covenant-dave-lane/about
At the bottom of this page there is an early discussion, in letter form, on Dave’s views of his art.
Describing Space by Dave Lane
Describing Space by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair and Exhibition in 1997.
Little Big Bang by Dave Lane
Little Big Bang by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 1998.
Jacobs Ladder by Dave Lane
Jacobs Ladder by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 1999.
Sphinx by Dave Lane
Sphinx by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2000.
Grendel’s Hoary Maw by Dave Lane
Grendel’s Hoary Maw by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2001.
Mom, Where Do Paintings Come From by Dave Lane
Mom, Where Do Paintings Come From by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2002.
Main Difference between Truth and Lie by Dave Lane
Main Difference between Truth and Lie by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2004.. The photo was taken in Dave’s back yard in April of 2005. This one is composed largely of two huge sawblades that could swing back and forth side-by-side like two really scary pendulums.
During the Fair, they were wired in place so that they could neither swing nor turn. Prose is written along radial lines of the blades. If memory serves, this was in the Fair in 2002 or 2003.
Air of Paris by Dave Lane
ir of Paris by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2005.
Heart of Gold by Dave Lane
Heart of Gold by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2006.
Grandma Planet by Dave Lane
Grandma Planet by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2007.
Grandpa Mosley by Dave Lane
Grandpa Mosley by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2008.
Grandpa Mosley seen in Dave Lane’s backyard by daylight.
Grandpa Mosley seen in Dave Lane’s backyard later in the evening.
Keyes by Dave Lane
Keyes by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2009.
Grandma Hejaz by Dave Lane
Grandma Hejaz by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2010.
Grandma Hejaz won the Juror’s Award for Mixed Media Sculpture at the California State Fair in 2010.
Model A (also known as Starmaker)
In a previous show, the sculpture was titled Starmaker. This one had an appearance somewhat like a furnace.
Model A (also known as Starmaker) by Dave Lane was entered in the Art Show of the California State Fair in 2012. and won Best of Show. Here are some additional shots of it.
These things are huge.
Dave has a sketch book of the things that he wants to make. It is not that everything must conform to the original notions as they were first formed and as he sketched them out. The sketches are like a road map that shows the main thoroughfares, but neglects to mention the side roads … the blue highways as William Least Heat-Moon has called them. Seeming to be at the center of this sculptural solar system are the “poles”. One or two examples:
An additional view in which I refer to them a “sentinels”.
Here is the sketch that posited the existence of these powerful elements as poles in orbit close to the center of this particular universe:
Amog the elements of this sculptural univers are the Raths, in particular, Emmet’s Rath.
A number of URLs exist that have information obout Dave. I fully intend to “borrow” some of their images.
http://nelsonga.ipower.com/archives/2009/01/dave_lane_exhib.html This page appears to have been moved or deleted. I will track it down.
http://landonellis.weebly.com/ The reference to Dave Lane’s work is close to the end of this.
http://web.scc.losrios.edu/art/stories/storyReader$323 This page has gone missing.
http://steampunkbitz.wordpress.com/ The reference to Dave Lane’s work is close to the end of this also.
Notes about Dave Lane’s work:
To Jim Leitzell
Remember when we first met? In Jerry’s seminar at Sac State in 1985? You did this Matisse replica and one of the dancers had an erection. It was on display at A.R. and somebody put an “x” through it. This big argument ensued about whether the “x” had become a part of the piece because you left it. Most of those conversations were kind-of crazy!
Back then I wouldn’t talk about anything personal related to my art – I would only discuss technical problems/solutions. I was deliberate about it because a seminar was a somewhat hostile place to discuss fragile personal things – I’m glad I didn’t. To have ideas challenged while they are in formation makes them “deformed”. Some might say that being challenged is part of the learning experience, but I think learning is about exposure. I used to roam the libraries looking at art – when I was younger, it was a diversion from the math or whatever. A teacher can tell you about so and so but you have to do the looking yourself..
I’ve worked around schools to do most of my art work: it’s a stimulating environment and good energy for the most part. The best thing a school can do is provide a good place to work. I think art academics are a little over emphasized. Most of it is about doing the work, unless you are going to teach it.
The next best thing a school can do is provide a meeting place for everyone. There’s no “Cedar Bar”: type of place out here in Sacramento. In a lot of ways, the lab at Sac State has been as good or better. In the old days people met, talked, ate, and drank together. The galleries were close and centered around Himovitz, Open Ring, later 750; now, everything’s sort-of spread out, there isn’t the energy there used to be.
Old Growth verses recycling
This is how I can be good and bad at the same time: The wood I use is “old growth” – it was from a house built in 1916 so the wood had about 80 years to cure, and probably had several hundred years to grow before that. It sets up a contradiction – people are users of materials – if you don’t you just drop dead. The way people use material becomes a kind of hot debate. Most of the time I’m outside it.
A lot of these old parts came from Col. Bigus. The Col. Was a man who collected parts all his life with the intention of making sculptures out of it. He had made a few, and died. His daughter donated 20 or 30 boxes of materials (to Sac State), after about 6 months it had been mostly untouched. I picked out all the parts that seemed likely sculpture material.
What is all this art stuff, anyway?
Much of my audience are not art viewers, as such. It’s kind of funny, when people ask me what I’ve been up to, and I tell them I’m getting ready for a show, it opens up a whole new world to them.
Usually I get asked if they have to pay to see the show, and I tell them “we’ll pay them if they come”.
I also get asked what these things are “for” or “what did this thing used to be?” Artists would never ask artist these questions because it’s understood to be some form of expression; but I think these kind of questions are valid and even challenging. It opens a primary dialog about art, like starting over each time, it keeps the expression from getting stale. I use a lot of old machinery in sculptures; someone might recognize a part in a piece that he couldn’t otherwise relate to. I’ve drawn him in! And he won’t be alienated by something complex the more he looks.
I had the same experience – Walburg introduced me to David Smith: I had to buy the book for his seminar. I couldn’t relate to it at all, until I saw a saw blade, or an old wagon axel, then recognized a shadow, or a painting field. It was like eating baby food – until I could tackle the steak. I started looking at work that was complicated and detailed, the types of things that appealed to me, but that I might not pay attention to, because I didn’t “like” it. It helped me understand art.
It was like that with collecting, too. I remember actually being embarrassed to ask if I could buy a piece – I bought it because it helped me understand my own work – to have these pieces around. I’m still a little secretive about collecting. After Lisa and I married, we wanted to have examples of art from people we knew. So we can say, “this is what’s going on in the area”.
3 & 2 Columns
Some of these pieces have 3 balls and 2 spikes. This is a metaphor for something in baseball where you have 3 balls and 2 “strikes” which is a s far as you can go at bat before something is going to happen – Full Count. And in Life, that’s as far as you can push something before it snaps – or changes. Like making a big decision. So these are monuments to being pushed into making necessary decisions.
I’m generally reluctant to sell art and very reluctant to sell a map-type piece. I only sell copies. It’s a little hard to understand but I made them to get into a stable mind, and I need them – just like a map – to find my way through difficulties. Some of the sculptures are pretty heavy and some have moving parts – you could loose a finger or it could fall on you. I keep those pretty close to home. The larger pieces are like demonstrations of something threatening – they look like they could fall down, but mechanically they are very stable, and portable. The idea that they look like they could fall down – it might bother some people – but they’re balanced, like a toothpick on end – that’s like life; you throw this food and air into this body and it sort-of hangs in there as long as you do it. Mark de Suvero did it really well with sculptures – better than I could!
What about rust? Rust follows an aesthetic that I learned from the work of Jerry, Urban, Jack Nielson – it’s the natural color of steel, left to weather. It’s the color of dirt. Scott Wilson called steel “highly refined dirt”. It’s show ceramics works, I like to think that rust reminds people of their own mortality – of decay – and it can be pretty frightening. Lots of people don’t like rust, they want to see it painted, they’re used to seeing it that way.
What about influences?
Well, I’ll split that up – people influence me – what happens to people, things people tell me, their stories.
Then doing things and seeing things influences me. I’m not sure I’m influenced by other artists work, like following so and so’s work, how famous artists studios looked.
Christianity is a big influence: I think God has a lot better ideas than I do. When something comes from Him it makes a better piece.
I kike driving around, looking at things, being in a place and seeing unusual weather, clouds, storms, these can be influential, but a lot of people know that. Maybe old trains, railroad yards, old farm machinery, antique tools. These things get used like fuel: I’ve seen old harvesters rusting away in the fields – like some sort of alien space craft that broke down. It sets up a wonderful contradiction; like asking ‘what the heck did this thing do?’
In another form, if you had this big steam locomotive, and posed a beautiful nude next to it – it sets up a kind of electricity: this kind of animal made this kind of machine – it’s unnerving. Like a model in a bikini next to a sports car – only taken to extremes.
It’s important to see things from different view points – it’s important for making art. It generalizes something going on – and makes it clearer. Isn’t that what art does? It collects ideas, gives them symbolic form, and expresses them in some type of medium. Like making a little window into how to see things. And sometimes it goes to extremes. I take hard looks at what happens when things go wrong – like with reasoning or with insanity, in a person or some cultural malady, these are pretty strong sources; again looking at things in the extreme; It sort-of defines the boundaries of what’s possible. Applying it to a map puts it into perspective so I can go on.
Building these maps takes a lot out. There are these myths about “suffering” artists, o the degree that it’s true, it’s not romantic like people might think. It hurts to look at things going wrong, it makes me mad. Digging on the inside of why it makes me mad or why it hurts, or why I have to live with things this way…this is where these things come from. (Moving heavy metal around can cause a lot of pain too.)
About Christianity and Art
Some will scoff and ridicule this because it’s about Christianity, and how Christianity come up as a solution to these unfathomable things. Even if someone reading this doesn’t believe it, it’s still worthwhile seeing how it works.
In Christianity we are taught not to seek the praise of men because it robs us of the reward we get in Heaven. All the reward you get is being recognized by people, and it’s fleeting, like Warhol said, 15 minuets of fame.
To the degree that I have sought praise it’s my experience that it doesn’t last – that it wears out fast – after the initial excitement; however, in art you don’t have “success”, in a sense, without recognition. So it depends on what you’re looking for as far as success. I would hope that people recognize that the work is about Christian principals and consequences. Success would mean that more people would want to know more about the story. I can’t deny that Christ had a part in the work – and I don’t always understand it as a builder of art. Sometimes somebody comes and tells me what it’s about.
I remember some things Steve Kaltenbach said: understanding comes before, during, and after you build a piece. You don’t always know why something pops up or why one things needs to happen and another doesn’t
If people are not believers and they think the work is good, maybe they’ll think there might be something to this Christianity stuff after all. Whether you believe it or not, that’s how God speaks to people. There are pieces of God talking in these maps and sculptures. All together it makes up a message. The message is that everything on earth is going to be destroyed. Only those saved by Christ will be spared, the rest are going to be left behind. It’s like in a junk yard, the useful parts get salvaged, just like getting stuff to make art. People can see it as narrow, dogmatic, or whatever, but it’s just the way it is. I am sympathetic to diverse points of view, because expression “in itself” has infinite means, but you can’t apply the same thing to how God sees us. You’ll either be saved or not. It’s something each person has to check out for themselves.
God gave people their way of seeing like a gift. He didn’t want people to thank the infinite Hoo-Haww for it. It’s like if you have your own kid a present, $#20.00 or something, and he thanked his best friend for it. How would you feel? Would you think there was something wrong with him? Would you feel like giving him another present? But God’s a lot more patient with us than that (at least until we die).
Initially when people look at this work, they see big machines or intricate maps, so there is some for of attraction. When they realize there is a message – a lot of the time a negative message because it’s about what’s going to happen – it’s kind-of disturbing, like “shock art” kind of stuff. If I painted a beautiful picture of landscape or flowers, it might be pretty to look at (as a picture of God’s creation), but it doesn’t have the same effect as being threatened with fire dropping on your head, or being ground to mince meat by this evil guy. So it’s like talking about something that’s evil – but I’m not glorifying it. It’
S my response to what I see, so hey! Don’t kill the messenger.