Brilliant Ideas Episode #7: Danny Lane
Sculpting brilliance in the name of light
Fascination with glass
Danny Lane is an American-born, London-based artist. He was born in Urbana Illinois in 1955, and has worked actively in London since the 1980s. Working primarily with glass, he is described as "a master of form and light," and is closely associated with public art in the United Kingdom. His engaging and beautiful public artworks installed in the downtown areas of bustling cities and nearby parks create a beautiful urban landscape and provide a refreshing and spontaneous breath of art to the city dwellers.
Glass is a difficult material to work with, despite it being so common and familiar in our lives. In addition to the brittle nature of the material, glass working is always accompanied by scorching hot temperature, allowing only a very few to master the sophisticated art. Danny Lane is one of the few. His works continuously push the boundaries of what light can show, while drawing in the bedazzled gaze of viewers. In the seventh episode of Brilliant Ideas brought to you by Bloomberg and Hyundai, take a glimpse into the story of the master of form and light.
A world realized by craftsmanship
Danny Lane works with glass sculptures and furniture, but he was originally trained as a painter, and drawing is still a crucial aspect of his works. Widely introduced as an explorer of the boundary between the second and third dimension, it comes as no surprise that elegant, flowing contours are a feature of his works. Lane draws from the potential of glass, steel, wood, and properties of light, to express his works, his choice of simplistic material is relatively modernistic, but the splendid decorative nature of his works betray a glimpse of Baroque art.
Lane left the United States in 1975 to train in glass working under Patrick Reyntiens, who was responsible for the British post-war renaissance in stained glass. After the apprenticeship, he went on to study painting at the Byam Shaw and the Central School of Art. Visionary painter, poet, and philosopher Cecil Collins was one of the professors at Central, whose impressions and inspirations continue to stay with Lane. Danny Lane's many artistic experiments and explorations during the institutional education phase of his development helped define his own unique concepts in design, and continue to be a driving force identified in his creative works today.
Lane is a proponent of metaphysical and experimental art, often combining the seemingly futile physicality of stacks of fractured glass, contorted and rusted steel, to objects of monumentality. Working from his studio with his team of skilled technicians is rudimentary to his works. His London studio is equipped with the means to create large-scale artworks, including a glass furnace. The studio is packed with industrial material, with an ever-looming level of related risks. Lane welcomes the exposure to risk, saying "Risk is a very real part of life. It inspires people, it brings focus to a single point."
Danny Lane challenges our preconceptions on the translucent and inscrutable material that is glass, by fracturing, glancing, and cleaving glass to reveal its true beauty and nature. <Opening Line>(2004) installed at the Gateshead Interchange is a site-specific work considered one of the most dramatic public art work in the United Kingdom. Composed of 19 elements made from steel and glass, the large scale installation is more than 90 meters long with a height of over 5 meters. Created to reflect the diverse culture and history of Gateshead, the artwork incorporates a range of images including a bird, a musical instrument, and a bulkhead. Installed in Gateshead's public transport interchange between two bus-lanes, the sculpture acts as a safety barrier for the busy route whilst providing an interesting focal point for passengers in the bus queue.
As such, Danny Lane's works are characterized by their sheer scale and diversity of form. <Borealis>(2005) is one of the world's largest glass sculptures, sited at the GM Renaissance Center lobby in Detroit. <Borealis> is comprised of two enormous undulating glass walls; the lucid ripple of glass curtains refract light and images to create a soft and flexible ambiance that welcome the visitors in the lobby.
<Stairway>(2005) is another glass sculpture that takes the visitors to a new height of imagination, playing the concepts of surrealism and concepts beyond the finite. The staircase seems to be without landing, yet takes the audience anywhere allowing diverse interpretation. Many have dubbed this piece as the "stairway to heaven," as it is reminiscent of Jacob's ladder in the Bible, reaching up to the heavens. Lane etched the glass surfaces to refract light, giving it a lucid glow of jaded wateriness that is quite natural with the setting surrounding it.
Danny Lane's name is synonymous with large-scale, modern glass sculptures but his creative interests also span to smaller objects such as furniture and decorative items. <Etruscan Chair>(1992) is one of his most iconic furniture designs. The piece is of colorless non-lead glass with green cast, metallic silver, stainless steel, aluminum. The glass was chipped, ground, polished, and then drilled, assembled with fabricated metal. The back and the seat are connected by bent threaded metal rods or tubes and metal fixtures. More of an artwork than a furniture, it is considered to be a manifestation of Danny Lane's idiosyncratic context and usage of materials, and his interpretation of contradictory materials and form. Regarded by many collectors as Lane's seminal work, the Etruscan Chair was a fresh blow to the '80s design world, and launched the artist into the ranks of world-class designers.
Attracted to the artistic merit glass can offer such as a spectrum of color and waveform, Danny Lane is creating his own unique art world with large glass sculptures. Through the many years of training under great masters of their crafts - sculpture, painting, drawing, and glass working - Danny Lane has built a strong platform of spatial sense, technical and engineering proficiency. From this base he develops his ideas into works that represent great elegance and sophistication. His large scale sculptures sited in public spaces satisfy both esthetic and functional needs, and serve as exemplary works that promote public art. Danny Lane brings together the untamed brutal materiality of glass with its elegant curves and graceful hues, and beckons the audience into his world of glass. ■ with ARTINPOST
Glass, steel 640×182cm
Glass, steel 600×190×418cm Photo: Peter Wood
<Etruscan Chair> 1992
Glass, stainless steel 95×45×64cm Photo: Peter Wood
Glass, steel 308×355×19cm Photo: Paul Grundy
Glass, hawthorne 108×380×215cm Collection: F.R.A.C. Rouen, France. Photo: Emilio Tremolada
<Colour Exlipse> 2009
Colored glass 3110×1800cm Photo: Peter Wood
<Ice Block> 2011
Optical cast glass, table aluminium 480×161×120xm Photo: Peter Wood
Stell, glass 94×1800×65cm Photo: Ian McKinnell
<Passagem de Luz> 2009
Low iron glass, steel 300×750cm Photo: Peter Wood
<Presence of Seven> 2002
Glass, stainless steel 70×2800cm
<Still Water Rising> 2014
Low iron glass, steel 72×505×165cm Photo: Peter Wood
Low iron glass, colour poured glass, post tensioned stacked component, mirror, burr poplar, plastic apple 285×815×147cm Photo: Peter Wood
<Woodcutters Table> 1989
Wood, stone, brick, breeze block, steel, glass, chain 55×180×180cm Photo: John Arthur
Danny Lane is an American-born London-based sculptor who is described as "a master of form and light." He creates colorful glass sculptures that are wonderful public artworks in the midst of congested downtown area or even in the tranquil ambiance of a garden. The artist's glass works veraciously project light from surrounding objects in perfect harmony with nature. His bright gem-like works are a glimpse into the mysteriousness and sophistication that is unique to glass as a material.
Danny Lane underwent an apprenticeship with Britain's most eminent stained-glass craftsman and artist Patrick Reyntiens, and became highly familiar with glasswork. The apprenticeship was followed by several distinguished art programs in which the artist continued his studies and training laying the foundation to his current international recognition as a genius artist of both aesthetical and technical caliber. Lane's works are characterized by meticulous technical prowess, bedazzling the heart and minds of those who cast their gaze upon it. His glass sculptures at times feel gentle, and at others forceful, begetting the illusion of standing in a space in the future.