Cal Lane’s Sweet Crude Oil

I like art that makes us look at ordinary, dull things that most people pass by everyday.. or things that we find objectionable or even disgusting in a new light. Part of the curse or blessing of being an artist is to notice things that most people don’t.

I find an endless fascination in things like smoke, the bubbles in a bath, or the passing clouds, which probably labels me as an artist that is interested in stupid stuff that should be seen in passing, but these are the things that blow me away. Even a walk in the park that I have passed through a thousand times can see me frozen still by a tree that is lit perfectly by the sun, or composed in a way that looks more perfect than any painting could ever be. A simple walk can be visual overload, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I pity those that don’t see the ordinary as extraordinary as it must be such a dull existence.

sweet crude oil

Anyway, my point is not to ramble on about my walks through the park but to mention an exhibition about an artist that has used an ugly medium to create something beautiful. Cal Lane has used 55 gallon oil drums and industrial relics to create delicate floral and lace influenced works of art.

In preparation for “Sweet Crude,” Cal Lane wielded the plasma cutter to transform a host of industrial relics –from the small (shovels and gas cans) to the large (dumpsters, 55-gallon drums, car doors) to the architectural (I-beams)– into works of art. The result of Lane’s unique sculptural process is best described (in her own artist statement) as “an image of opposition that creates a balance –as well as a clash– by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials. This is manifested in a series of Industrial Doilies, pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function.”

She is exhibiting at the Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica from the 8th of March through to the 12th of April.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I am equally in loooove with Cal Lane as you are…her work is amazing.
    I reviewed her a few years back and became enamored with her unusual and thrilling work immediately:

  2. these are just stunning, I love her work, thanks for highlighting her on here.

  3. “I pity those that don’t see the ordinary as extraordinary as it must be such a dull existance.” Totally agreed!

    Not only that, but some of the most touching photographs I’ve seen are taken off “common” events, like a child’s smile or a war scenario (though I don’t support wars, the scenarios they create are undescribable).

    I don’t know if you like “low” art (lots of quotes on low), but that’s one of the things that get me attracted to it. Materials in popular/traditional/folk art are usually simple and common ones, still they get transformed into great creations.

  4. utterly amazing,
    I love these works

  5. I have seen Cal Lane’s work before, and was reminded by how amazing it is. I feel like it is an artist’s responsibility to see the world in a different light. I’m also amazed by things others might pass off as trivial…oh well pity them.

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