Showroom Link: https://www.artgalleria.com/room/42900/45788503
Angela Lane’s miniature landscape paintings are both seductive and unsettling. Her meticulously rendered gloomy fields, foggy lake edges and forest clearings recall the masters of the European sublime such as Caspar David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner. Yet hovering in the sky above each vista is some kind of mysterious phenomena - a glowing orb, twin eclipses, quadrupled reflections. Each cosmic anomaly casts an eerie supernatural light over the familiar landscapes. Other than the heath, the paintings are devoid of any traces of life, which gives them a sense of timelessness. It’s unclear whether the scene is post-apocalyptic, primordial or perhaps another planet altogether.
This sense of timelessness within Lane’s paintings reflects the nature of the sky itself. Unlike a building crumbling to ruin or a mountain formed by millions of years of sediment, the sky does not retain markers of time. Instead, the sky remains paradoxically constant yet ever-changing. The shifting clouds, sunrises, sunsets, thunder and lightning are as eternal as they are ephemeral. Just as the sky is in constant motion, so too are the human beliefs projected onto it. Across time, place and person, the sky has been viewed as a realm of celestial spirits, a place for salvation after life (aka heaven), a frontier of potential futures off Earth and much more.
The vast sky and the expansive beliefs that we project onto it, in turn, bring humankind’s comparative tininess into sharp focus. Tensions of scale similarly play out in Lane’s paintings. While small in physical size, they are epic in the magnitude of the scene depicted within. A collected stone on her desk in her Berlin studio may take shape as megalithic henges or a prismatic reflection on the wall becomes a radiant beam of light in the sky. Even the exhibition title Occurrences scales between the unassuming and enigmatic.
Through broad notions of time, motion and scale, Lane’s transcendent landscapes allow contradictory sensations to coexist - the wonder of the miraculous is coupled with a deep melancholy for the unknown. Similarly, the allure of nature’s beauty goes hand-in-hand with the overwhelming vertigo of the great abyss. Rather than trying to resolve such contradictory feelings, Lane’s paintings hold them together at the same time, creating an open space for our own projections and the things that we don’t yet understand.
Text: Lauren Reid