Brutal Bus Tour With Esker Foundation

My 1,555th post…seems significant, given that I was born in 1955…not sure why!  Laughing about this!  I’ve been a blogger since 2005, my first post written on September 12, 2005 and titled, In the Classroom.

I didn’t know a single soul on the bus tour, but loved the anonymity of the event on that particularly dark and cold Calgary day.  Yet again, snow.  I enjoyed loading on to the bus with others and rocked gently while listening to a very interesting narrative about the Brutalist architecture that appears throughout the city of Calgary, unbeknownst, I’m certain, to very many Calgarians.

Hosted by Cynthia Klaassen, the President of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society and Darryl Cariou, the Senior Heritage Planner for the City of Calgary, this guided tour was both fascinating and relaxing.  I enjoyed seeing both premier and lesser-known Brutalist sites, including some of the most controversial and nationally acclaimed.  It was fascinating to enter into the Science Center, a place where I had toured many times with my children when they were younger.  Once again, I felt a huge link to the University of Lethbridge, designed by Arthur Erickson and completed in the early 1970s.  I attended the university from 1973 until 1977 and lived in the main building residence on the fourth floor for two of those years.  Playing guitar in the abandoned stair wells and conversing with friends into the wee hours of morning on the main concourse are memories that stick with me.  The smell of concrete is not something everyone can easily get used to, but for me, a fond memory.

When we arrived back at the Esker, I purchased my 10.00 pkg of postcards and headed for the Blackfoot Diner, where I enjoyed a late afternoon breakfast, while reading over the descriptors on the backside of the postcards.  Another great day!

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Katie Ohe and Harry Kiyooka and Their Objects of Affection

Generously, Katie and Harry shared their spaces with us.  Conversations were rich and warm.  Hospitality was offered us…a group of diverse travelers from the city.  Stories were told…so many stories that connected objects to the souls of the artists.  A fabulous journey into the lives and motivation for creativity, in the sense of art practice, but also largely in the sense of a vision coming to life in the form of the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre.  I highly recommend that your contribution be known as funding is always challenging for the arts opportunities and they are imperative to the health of our communities.  In the spring, a group of us will be heading out to clean out scrub brush and physically labour on the property.  Let me know if you wish to join us.

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Phantom Wing

Phones were busy at cSPACE last night, snappin’ pictures  of pretty much everything!  I’m feeling as though the internet is already swamped with images of the fantastical Phantom Wing, but who cares…here are a few more!

P1130047I go to these things alone…I know…it’s pathetic…but I’m really the driver of my own ship these days and find that my sails take me into the most magical places.  Sometimes my voice collides with another voice…sometimes not…it’s all fairly wonderful.  I DO thank the two gentlemen who seemed to have some interesting interactions with me about various spaces when we bumped into one another…and thank you for grabbing a photo of me at the wings!

P1130097 P1130098By the way, I’ve recently started a writing residency with the CPL, delivered by Barb Howard (I was intrigued by one of her published titles…Embedded on the Home Front : Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge) and have learned from one of the library books being passed about, on the topic of learning to be a writer, that a writing ‘rule’ is to avoid using adjectives.  My eyes were opened!  I am a freak who uses MANY adjectives.  Try to overlook them.

A few reactions around the various Phantom Wing exhibits…

I thought about education a lot….the ways that we have educated children over time.  Sorry for all of the dot dot dots…I just seem to NOT be able to write sentences right now.  My thoughts are disjointed.  Perhaps it is because I sat in a dentist’s chair for five hours on Monday, just to have my face go numb today…off I go again in an hour to have him ‘take a look’.  Sigh and back to the subject…

P1130072 P1130077 I felt sad for all of the dumb work sheets. (I never used the things…but see them used to this day by some.)

P1130073 P1130074 P1130075I felt sad for the controlling approach to almost everything.  But, let us remember that ALL of those teachers were being controlled at the very same time as you wee chickens were.  (Yes, I am a teacher.)

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Teacher's Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck's room

Teacher’s Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck’s room

I thought about how redundant things must seem/be sometimes in schools.

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Cliques are destructive.  I believe in being a person ‘on the fringe’.

I didn’t ‘belong’ to the girls’ group in school…any school…so, in the second floor bathrooms, where Melinda Topilko and Lindsay Joy had prepared for a Girl Gang Dance Party, re-inventing the all-lady bathroom space as a vehicle for girl talk in all its many forms, I felt very uncomfortable.  I exited as soon as there was talk about writing down your confessions…assuming that you did mean things in school.  Ah, but I remember being ‘the nice girl’.

P1130119 P1130120Because of my preoccupation with feeding and watching birds these days, the Winged Apocalypse piece left the deepest impression with me.  I mean, things have gotten so bad that I’ve actually visited my neighbour and talked to her reasonably about the cat Bylaw because she has a mouse/bird-tossing-cat that she watches each morning while drinking back her coffee and smoking her cigarette. In summary, this particular installation was meaningful.

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

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Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Some of what I saw and experienced just gave me a good feeling…re-purposing materials, the inventiveness and genius of people and their facility to expand upon their initial concepts into creativity. Some of the work was thought-provoking around many different topics…construction, architecture, reuse, resources, friendship, community.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective — with Dana Schloss at PHANTOM WING: a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective: a pre-demolition project at King Edward School.

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A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock's "Politergeist" installation

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock’s “Politergeist” installation

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton's scary fairy tales installation.

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton’s scary fairy tales installation.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

The Bells built a bell-installation. Leslie and Chris Bell collected over 50 fire bells over the past few years. The couple  re-purposed the fire bells to create a (relatively) zen, hand-powered sound installation.  The evening at Phantom Wing was spectacular.

Love Art In Calgary: cSPACE, Reid Henry & Phantom Wing

Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary planned another fantastic tour day on Saturday, September 21!  First…

…it is a magical thing to land in a spectacular ‘arts dream’ first thing on a Saturday morning…hot coffee, home made coffee cake and Reid Henry, first President and CEO of cSPACE projects…a yummy combination!  Thanks to Reid for giving his personal time to tour us about the cSPACE and for sharing ‘the vision’.  There is an extensive and mind-blowing website that I think MUST be journeyedHere, my readers will be able to see the trip that has brought Calgary arts and residential interests together, a unique explosion of concepts fired up in what used to be the King Edward School.  A huge architectural undertaking, the concept of providing for new artistic vision in our city is of paramount importance to Reid Henry.  That is obvious.

Our presenter has over 16 years of experience working at the intersection of urban, cultural and economic development, with a focus on non-profit real estate projects.  Evidenced by his session, he clearly articulates his passion for a collaborative and multi-disciplinary practice.  His vision, as a part of a collective of other equally-inspired partners, will redevelop this three acre, inner city site, including the 45,000 square foot King Edward School built in 1912, to serve and include a diverse and creative community.

Eventually, this facility will become a mixed use, multi-tenant arts hub and incubator.  It was a delight to hear and watch reactions expressed by various members of the tour group.  We were captivated by the presentation AND the concept,  mouths dropping as we rounded each corner.

While I wasn’t fully prepared to write today, it had to be done…so, perhaps, more to follow.  A huge event is just around the corner at the cSPACE in the form of Phantom Wing, an event that precedes the official demolition of a wing, one big step on the way to a whole journey of steps.

Directly from the Phantom Wing archive

PHANTOM WING is organized by independent Artist-Curators: Matthew Mark Bourree, Caitlind r.c. Brown, Jennifer Crighton, Shawn Mankowske & Natalie MacLean, with special thanks to Brandon Dalmer, Andrew Frosst, and John Frosst.

PHANTOM WING will be open to the public from September 24 – 29, 2013, as part of cSPACE’s showcase event also featuring YYC Fashion Week, Pecha Kucha #17, and Terry Rock’s Going Away Party.

Address of King Edward School: 1720 30th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Here’s the thing: when you’re offered a pre-demolition space to make art in, it’s extremely hard to say no, despite your best intentions. When Deeter asked us to create a WRECK CITY at cSPACE King Edward School – the future home of a massive Arts Hub & Incubator intending to unite many of Calgary’s Artist Run Centres into an uber-mecca in 2016 – my initial response was “that’s impossible. WRECK CITY was all about independence and anti-institutionalism. How could we possibly repeat it?” It became more complicated when we began to discuss our responsibility to counter-culture, the necessity of independence, and the importance of letting the seed we planted with WRECK CITY germinate and grow – ya know, become it’s own thing.

However, the allure of checking out the space was too much for myself and my colleagues, and so we bit the bullet and went to see it. Of course, that was our first mistake. Our second mistake was allowing Deeter, an extremely charming and thoughtful fellow, to be so damn convincing. But we still weren’t entirely committed…

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Deeter Schurig (cSPACE Project Manager) showing me the King Edward School space

Shortly after exploring the abandoned wing of King Edward School with Deeter, the Artist-Curators sat down as a collective to discuss the prospects of the project. Almost immediately it became evident that another WRECK CITY would be impossible… but a new project would be entirely within the realm of imagination. After all, to be frank, we’re essentially opportunists. Plus, WRECK CITY wasn’t our first pre-demolition project and it won’t be our last (see The Leona Drive Project and The House Project). PHANTOM WING will be its own thing, with a healthy awareness of its origins and a mischievous/playful relationship with The King Edward’s institutional background. In the spirit of the future Arts Incubator, PHANTOM WING will work as an intimate, process-oriented opportunity, allowing a small selection of Artists/Curators a vast amount of space to think and work and build. And if it faintly echoes some of WRECK CITY’s awesome sense of community, then hey, who can complain?”

I wish to thank Reid Henry for his generous introduction of this space.  I was overcome with a nostalgic feeling as we traveled the empty school hallways, but also filled with a feeling of anticipation and excitement at such a glorious development in our city.  I am so grateful to the residents and the City of Calgary who have lived this process and made things happen, along with the initiatives of the visionaries.  Thanks to Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary who seems to unbutton and reveal to us new and exciting things in the city all of the time!

Looking forward to attending Phantom Wing and other exciting projects.  Following, some images that I hope will capture a sense of the unbuttoning…an art space to be watching as its development unfolds over the coming years.

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Excited Hands

Excited Hands

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Return to Hamilton: Queen Victoria Statue

I think the most entertaining monument that I saw on my walk about Hamilton was the sculpture of Queen Victoria, not so much the sculpture, but the engraved words attached.  VICTORIA QUEEN AND EMPRESS: A MODEL WIFE AND MOTHER

From the Hamilton Public Library website, we read a detailed account about the history of the construction and maintenance of the sculpture over the years.  Very interesting stuff.  As was with most architecture of the time in the City of Hamilton, the industrial environment reeked havoc on stone, given the high oxidation factor.

On May 23, 1908, the Spectator wrote: “Hamilton women are becoming renowned all over Canada for their patriotism. One good deed after another is accomplished by the loyal women of the city, and each good deed rebounds to the credit of Hamilton as a whole.”

Note:

†Local newspapers reported the sculptor’s name as Philippe Hebert. The sculptor was christened Louis-Philippe Hébert, but usually went by the name Philippe Hébert. The Hamilton sculpture of Queen Victoria is signed “Philippe Hébert.” [Colin S. MacDonald, A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol. 2, 1989, p. 411.]

P1110492 P1110496This was quite a contrast to the bustling world of 2013 Hamiltonian society; the shopping, the cabs and the Tim Horton’s cups tossed down on the sidewalk.  The Queen would not have approved of the women’s summer fashion either!

From Henley’s Hamilton, we see this analysis of photographs taken in the period.

Queen Victoria Statue Unveiling

A photographic essay – all images taken by Cochrane.

Above is part of the crowd, estimated at 22,000, on hand to witness the unveiling of the Queen Victoria  statue. Note the military guard of 100 members of the 13th Regiment (white pith helmets on right) and 100 member of the 91st Highland Regiment (kilts and bear skin hats, left.)

Taken moments later, camera turning slightly north from James st. – the crowd in this view fills the north branch of King street completely.

Crowd opens to allow the arrival of Canada’s Governor-General Early Grey and the rest of the official party.

The statue is unvelied and the gentlemen in attendance doff their hats.

The governor-general addresses the assembled after the unveiling.

All photos courtesy, PreVIEW, Local History and Archives, Hamilton Public Library.

Related, but to a very small degree, this, from Andrew Evan’s travels and his Alberta Story: Queen Victoria’s Underwear.

Return to Hamilton: St. Paul’s Church

I came upon St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church as I did one of my walks about town.  I spent some time enjoying this remarkable structure located on James Street.  There is some wonderful background on the church in the Raise the Hammer article titled First-Rate Gothic: A Look at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Hamilton written by Malcolm Thurlby.  I am begging that if you have any interest at all in the details of Gothic Architecture as it was explored in southern Ontario in the day, that my readers refer to this article.  Excellent!

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Hamilton St. Paul's Presbyterian Church Portal

Then…

I spent some time admiring the beauty of several buildings in Hamilton.  Snapshots of an earlier day, tell the story of a determined people in a hard working town.  My great grandparents regularly attended church and I think that this was a foundation for the strength that I so admire in my family.  In my brief stay in Hamilton, I was able to take a good look at some of the buildings that remain.  A few older photographs were found in an archive titled “Concerning the Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church and Congregation in Hamilton, Ontario 1854 – 1904”.

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Now…

Then...

Then…

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Now…

P1110471 P1110472“At the south-east corner of the church there is a large Celtic Cross – The Cross of Sacrifice. It was carved in Scotland and placed here in 1921 to commemorate those of the congregation who had fallen in battle (St. Paul’s, Undated). Near Remembrance Day you will find wreaths and poppies at the base of the cross and the church holds a Service of Remembrance on the Sunday closest to November 11th each year.”

Text found here.  Another WordPress blog titled HenleysHamilton1 can be enjoyed here.

The most detailed examination of the architecture of this particular building comes from a 1993 publication called The Bulletin: Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, an article written by Alan Seymour and Walter Peace.

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Exploring John Street

Mrs. Mary Eleanor Moors nee Haddow, my great grandmother, passed away at her home on 139 1/2 John Street South in February, 1944.  She had lived in Hamilton for most of her life, living first at 42 Jones Street where my grandfather, John Moors, was born and she was known for her kind and generous nature.  This kind heart won her a wide circle of friends.  She attended Centenary United Church and from the time that her husband, John, died in Etaples, France in service of our country, she lived with her sister Margaret.  I felt strongly about visiting her apartment in the city and the church that she attended.

P1110475 P1110476 P1110478 P1110480 P1110482The history of Centenary United Church may be read here.  The history of the Organs of Centenary may be read here.

Centenary Church Rev. Sparling Hamilton Public Library and Centenary Centenary Church Jubilee 1868 to 1918 Centenery United Hamilton Mary Eleanor Moors attendedThe previous photographs were ‘in the day’.  Here are images of present-day Centenary.

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors ©

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Restoration of the Glanmore National Historic Site, Belleville, Onario

Walking from the hospital to my Dad’s apartment on Bridge Street, on my last trip to Belleville, I stepped into the past for a couple of hours.  I was emotionally exhausted upon my arrival, but on each visit I’ve made home, I’ve wondered about this beautiful building.  The banner on the front yard read OPEN.  I entered into the front foyer, where I was met with a warm greeting and smile, received a brief history and headed into this beautiful and somehow-enchanted space, quite a departure from the cold and discomforting experience of the hospital room.

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors ©

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors ©

The building is in the process of restoration and so I was granted admittance to most of the three floors apart from the back of the house.  I was alone to wander and so I felt as though history was holding my hand.  I am one who loves that sense of nostalgia, so to be transported to this magical time was wonderful.

I have visited Virtual Museum Canada and located a concise history of the building and collections to post here.  I purchased, upon my departure, the book about the personalities who lived here and more detail about the architectural elements of the building itself, but I thought for the purpose of a blog post, a concise bit of writing would suffice.

“Glanmore National Historic Site of Canada

Glanmore National Historic Site, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1969 in recognition of its exceptional 2nd Empire architecture. Glanmore was built in 1882-1883 for wealthy banker J.P.C. Phillips (1842-1912) and his wife Harriet Dougall Phillips (1839-1915). The grand interior features beautiful hand-painted ceilings and ornate woodwork. Many of Glanmore’s rooms have been restored to the 1890s and feature period room displays containing some original furnishings as well as beautiful objects from the Couldery Collection.

The museum cares for an extensive collection of antique furniture, paintings and ceramics. Local history is highlighted in Glanmore’s lower level, and includes the Pre-Confederation Homestead exhibit and Maid of All Work: Domestic Service at Glanmore. The Museum is open to the public six days a week and offers a wide variety of programs and activities for schools and the general public. Guided and self-guided tours are available year-round.

About the Collections

The Couldery Collection of European and Oriental furniture, decorative art and paintings; Phillips-Burrows-Faulkner Collection of artifacts original to the site; Paul Lighting Collection; History of Hastings County Collection; Manly MacDonald Collection.

Approximate number of objects in the collections: 35,000″

Glanmore National Historic Site of Canada Video Tour Highlights from Gerry Fraiberg on Vimeo.

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Wreck City: Inside Outside Upside Down

P1100460The image above captures the scene when I first arrived at Wreck City.  I like the texture of this…the light and paint…the obvious structure accommodating a slide.  Not typical now, is it? P1100462I’ve seen better photos than this of the Wreck City sign…but this is mine :0)  and I like it! P1100463 The light was fading:  I decided to do the main levels of everything and once tempted, to climb some stairs and wander upward.  Ladders…NO!  I’m going to do those on my second visit.  I’m very curious about the nest-like structure above.P1100465Brad was the first guy I met…even before bumping into Jason’s parents at the back of 621.  I’m glad that Jason returned to Calgary!  Look at what’s going on here!  Anyway, Brad had been working on the side of house 621 for only two hours and LOOK!  He told me that he was enjoying having such freedom and such a grand surface. P1100467I met Amy Dryer (Fragments of Soul) artist and her partner on fabric stairs.  This, after also meeting Jen (Photographer) and Phil (Glass Blower) coming around a corner.  Nice to see so many zillions of people out and walking through houses together.  P1100481 Gilded beer cans randomly integrated into an entrance vignette.P1100498 Atmosphere…once dark, this outdoor sculpture created a significant mood and a remembrance of campfires and friendship and sing songs.P1100500Coloured clothing on a clothes line…instead of reading as laundry…these pieces read as art.  Are they?  I don’t know…but they are reading that way. P1100501A bedroom…cozy…built around a back yard tree.

A Bridge connecting 819 to 823 as part of WRECK CITY Bridge by artist Alia Shahab

A Bridge connecting 819 to 823 as part of WRECK CITY
Bridge by artist Alia Shahab

Walking between two houses…this way!

Wreck City: Lane Shordee

One of my favourite spaces in Wreck City is the Greenhouse project.  I want the greenhouse to stay.  Could it be our collective Walden?  When people entered the space, they became more quiet.  Surrounded by Christmas trees, once cut, now planted back into soil…filling the air with the strong smells of life and GREEN, one discovers the workshop space, the notations, quotes and archives of a magical and positive process.

Please explore the photographs and the in depth explanation of this process HERE!  I appreciate that Lane shared this narrative…so important, I think, to the life of the work. ”

“After negotiating the use of the space, John Webster the original builder and owner of the greenhouse stopped by and I learned that he would grow food all year round, piping in hot water from the house boiler.  He would grow seedlings in the greenhouse and move them to a farm where they would grow to maturity and then get donated to charity.  It became my focus to pay homage to a place that provided so much growth, and once again transform it into a lively environment before it’s demolition.”

While my photographs do not capture the same clarity, they are an attempt to capture the sense of the space on opening night.  I will return this week to enjoy the quietude again.

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Lane is a scavenger artist based in Calgary, Alberta. Drawing from construction waste and items Lane is a scavenger artist based in Calgary, Alberta. Drawing from construction waste and items found by happenstance, he builds elegant sculptures and installations that both challenge and indulge our relationships with the things we throw away. Lane mines the immediate surplus of materials available, and, informed by his environment, re-frames it into cohesive structures, allowing its presumed worth to be re-evaluated. Embracing shift and impermanence, Lane abides by the notion that we live in a cultural mash-up of ideas rooted to all parts of history – as with memory, each idea becomes new with every attempt to access and re-create it.”

Lane is all of this, but he is also just a genuine person who is generous with sharing his ideals and his friendship.  He has been a partner in painting at the Gorilla House and his insights and approach are appreciated.