Written by Joanne Barrett
A Grey Lynn penthouse apartment, affectionately called the ‘Sky Lounge’, has been home to artist Teresa HR Lane for the past four years. The view, a breathtaking skyscape, has naturally stimulated conversation and provided a pivotal visual reference for Lane’s works.
“Wherever I am, art is always around me, in the sky, on the walls, on the people and in the streets. I love the convenience of living and working centrally and, when I’m not rushing, I enjoy wandering along Ponsonby Road and Karangahape Road discovering places to eat. Blue Breeze Inn has been one of my regular places – the food is consistently good.
“During my wanderings I often come across friends or acquaintances and what fascinates me is the information and dialogues people generate through conversation. How people respond to me often becomes how I respond to them in my art.”
Lane says, “The sky makes me smile inside and understand why it is often described as 'the sublime'. It also makes an outstanding colour swatch which is why I photograph it every day I can.”
Whilst Ponsonby and its surrounds are currently the inspirational gathering places for Lane, she says from a very young age she has experienced many interesting and unusual places around the world. These places she visited and the people she met were life-shaping adventures for her.
Lane was born in Taihape, but spent her childhood living on the land in Northland with her mother, of Greek ancestry, and her English father. She and her parents later spent time up in the Andes of Peru and travelled the world extensively. Then, independently, Lane continued travelling and living overseas until 19 years ago when she ended up in Auckland.
The subject or message in the works Lane makes, often comes from a conversation she may have had with a friend or a stranger.”
Lane says, “My mother paints and when living in Northland in the 1970s, she inspired me and all the artists she surrounded herself with. I always desperately wanted to make art, but I was like a butterfly flitting around, easily distracted and never disciplined. It wasn't until I had children in my 30s that I developed a decent level of focus. Once both children were at school, I set myself the task of securing my place in Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.”
The focus and discipline paid off. Lane graduated from Elam in 2017 with a Master of Fine Arts. She has been a Wallace Arts Award finalist and is this year’s recipient of the Molly Morpeth Canaday Akel Schulte Runner Up Award. Her works are held in collections including in the Wallace Collection and she regularly shows in Paul Nache Gallery in Gisborne.
Lane says, “I would describe my style and the mediums I use simply as, ‘drawing with paper and cutting with scissors’. I source printed matter from my own photos and from porn, art, animal and fashion magazines – all the good stuff. I collect, chop, tear and cut up photography, and images, creating texture by merging the pieces together with paint and glue.”
“My work is moving, some would describe it as staunchly feminist, and mildly iconoclastic. Ultimately, I'm interested in a male/female dialogue, how we got to this point, and how we move forward.”
Lane’s sense of humour and joyfulness show through her works, pushing the viewer further than ever to consider their relationship with the world. The works trigger laughter to break the ice and stimulate a deeper contemplation around the questions and complexities of the relationship men have with their own masculinity.
Lane’s latest show, ‘I’ve Hidden Your Knickers Under Here (where the boys won’t see)’ was held last month at Allpress Gallery in Freemans Bay. The 12 works conveyed a richly colourful interpretation of Greek mythology’s The Twelve Labours of Herakles, which depicted the naked, Greek manly hero wrestling with dreadfully gruesome beasts. A fusion of male and female flesh, Herakles is confronted with the various expressions of self – a paradox playing with his masculinity and flirting with his gender expression.
“I see my art practice growing with each phase feeding the next – like a conversation.”
“I would like to think the presence of art plays a very important role in our existence,” says Lane. And maybe the best a visual artist can hope for is giving the viewer the opportunity to stop and see through a different lens.
“As an artist, I'm influenced by everything around me and in terms of art movements, right now I’m drawn to surrealism. I love Hannah Hoch's simple collages, the realism of Grayson Perry’s complex tapestries, and William Kentridge’s studio moving animations.”
Just as Lane describes her practice as growing and evolving, so, too, is her life. Always one keen for adventure, the time has come to move on from her ‘Sky Lounge’. She says she is looking forward to exploring the next phase which, at this stage, is a work in progress, and hopes that whoever lives in the apartment will experience in their own way, much of what she has enjoyed.
The property is currently being marketed by Ray White Damerell Group.
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