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The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane

January 6 – February 4, 2012

The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane
The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane
The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane
The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane
The Sculpture of Lawrence Fane

Danese is pleased to announce an exhibition of sculpture by Lawrence Fane, which will continue through February 4, 2012.

Idiosyncratic and elusive, Fane’s sculptures "seem to be objects of use and pleasure that belong to a realm with which even the most traveled of us are unacquainted." [1] Constructed of wood, metal and concrete, Fane’s work is meticulously hand wrought, though often appearing unmediated–like artifacts from a distant time and place. While implying rational utility, the power of "Fane’s objects lies in the suggestion of a sacred, if enigmatic, function." [2]

The works generate infinite associations: the historical, socio-cultural, and ethnographic, as well as the figurative—sacred, profane and erotic. Further, they exist as reflections on architecture, physics and the natural sciences. As Bill Barrette writes, "Fane’s sculptures evoke a culture that values equally the productions of the hand, eye, and mind – a place and time where art, science, and industry co-exist in a fragile but harmonious balance of power." [3]

The sculpture "Barrel," titled for its literal components of wood and staves, also functions visually as a ritualistic mask. Mandorla, (Italian for almond), is a term well known in Christian iconography as a framework for medieval and renaissance devotional imagery – in Fane’s "Mandorla," the work assumes the additional identity of a tribal and sexual image.

Much of Fane’s work is profoundly influenced by the drawings of Mariano Taccola, an Italian Renaissance artist and engineer whose experiments in physics and hydraulics inspired Fane to publish MT/LF, a dialogue between the two artists. Fane felt a profound kinship with Taccola, and Fane’s "Purifier" series, completed during summers in Vermont from 2000 to 2006, is "closely connected to the thinking and the spirit that are present in Taccola’s notebooks….My pieces are certainly not proposals for mechanical use, but by assigning the name Purifier, I feel that I play on that possibility." [4]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1933, Fane received his B.A. at Harvard in 1955. He abandoned the study of medicine to pursue his passion for art, and enrolled at the Boston Museum School from 1955-56. In 2002, the University of Richmond Museum and the Muscarelle Museum in Virginia collaborated on a twenty-five year retrospective of his work entitled Machines of the Mind. Fane received numerous awards including the Rome Prize, a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and membership in the National Academy of Design. He continued to live and work in New York City until his death in 2008.

Fane’s work is included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; de Cordova Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond, VA; Museum of Contemporary American Art, Udine, Italy; Museum of the National Academy of Design, New York; and, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC, among others.

A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition, and is available online either through the gallery website or at
[1] Castle, Frederick. Art in America, October 1995.
[2] Esterow, Milton. Art News, May 1995.
[3] Barrette, Bill. “Mentors, Machines, and Modernisms,” in Machines Of the Mind: Sculpture by Lawrence Fane. Richmond. VA: University of Richmond Museums, 2002.
[4] Fane, Lawrence. M.T./L. F. Lake Placid: Pont La Vue Press, 2006.