For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the Artist
New Zealand artist Tony Lane uses iconographic symbols such as necklaces, trees, chairs, veils, and more recently cloud forms carrying a sense of the spiritual and the indefinable, yet anchored to the earth. Or weeping? A chair might stand in for a human presence, while his mountain forms and water suggest the physical world, but Lane prefers not to fix interpretation in place by offering a narrative.
‘I’m very wary of titles, because by being too specific, you can limit a painting. I am trying to start an open-ended conversation.’ (speaking to Art News reviewer Virginia Were).
His visual language is rich, often drawing comparison to European frescoes and renaissance painting, but his delivery is all his own. There’s equally hints of pop art, and European modernism, alongside a sense of classical composition. His landscapes are like a form of still life, hypothetical and imaginary, yet they are anchored, a reference point we all connect with. ‘The imagery comes from everywhere and everything, looking at real things, remembering things. It’s built up the way you build up vocabulary in your speech.’
Tony Lane graduated from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1970, and has exhibited extensively in New Zealand and internationally, living between Auckland and Spain. His work is held in significant public and private collections internationally.
Tony Lane’s recent works emerge from a series ‘Between Heaven and Earth’ which hover between surrealism and a sense of renaissance painting. These paintings link to the New Zealand landscape, the ever present mountains – with perhaps an influence from his early teacher, McCahon – and ideas about our environment, surroundings, in both a physical and metaphorical sense. We cannot connect with this ancient landscape without considering the contemporary issue of climate change, and the need to nurture the forests, the environment.
The mountains connect to the heavens and clouds – the physical to the spiritual – through familiar painterly devices such as strings which could be beads, tears, rain, or some other channel of connection; or haloes of cloud.
They present a kind of ‘still’ life, with space for meditation on our own connections, and consequences. And perhaps the clouds, more present in the new small paintings, are gathering, providing a space to contemplate the future?
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