The David Kordansky Gallery has set up an amazing wormhole of exhibitions. “Doyle Lane: Weed Pot” Its gateway is the small, unassuming “weed pot” that has frequently accented modern California interiors since the late 1950s. Wheel-thrown lane pots rarely exceed 3 to 4 inches in height, are spherical or oval in volume, and usually have short narrow necks, small mouths, and dry weed twigs at the top. It had a curved lip designed to hold it in.
From this seemingly humble beginning, African-American Lane (1923-2002) created a dazzling world of color, shape, texture and proportion. He also produced his ceramic tiles, pendants, his jewellery, paintings and murals, but ‘Weed Pot’ is his best known work. Kordansky’s generous exhibition of 100 pots is Lane’s first solo show in New York. This is also a refresher course to see and remember up close. power of form.
Lane didn’t invent the “weed pot,” but as this exhibition proves, he perfected it. It was his stage. Using his two small kilns at his studio in El Sereno, East Los Angeles, he stretches the miraculous glaze from its limits. His one of the greatest here has an almost timeless quality. It may be old-fashioned, freshly unearthed in Peru or China, but it is also modern. It is characterized by a double glaze, with a light matte green underglaze and an almost translucent brittle yellow glaze on top, which bulges out during the firing process, exposing the green color.
The show is curated by Australian-born, Los Angeles-based sculptor Ricky Swallow, who discovered the Lane vase in a Pasadena antiques mall in 2010. Swallow curated a similarly installed small-scale iteration for Kordanski’s Los Angeles home in 2020. The installation is also gorgeous, with 14 pots each arranged in a row in 7 display cases. If you walk along both sides of the glass jar, you can see all the circular pieces in full view. The accompanying catalog may not be the monograph this artist deserves, but it is the largest yet and contains a ton of information about him and his environment.
Doyle Lane (1923-2002) was born in New Orleans and came to Los Angeles in 1946. He studied pottery at East Los Angeles City College and the University of Southern California and was fortunate enough to land a coveted job as a glazemaker. He worked as a technician for the industrial chemical company LH Butcher for eight years. There Lane formulated and tested hundreds of different glazes, gaining an experience and body of knowledge few other post-war artists and potters possessed.
Two areas of particular interest are evident in this exhibit. One is his passion for the red and orange glaze used on almost a third of the pots here. The other skillfully exploits the contingency of glaze firing to promote the imperfections of cracks and less familiar cracking effects, which were originally most avidly pursued by Chinese and Korean potters. is. This happens when the thick glaze shrinks during firing and forms small islands on the exposed clay, but Lane was often tinted with yellow or ocher to enhance the contrast.
In some pots, cracks and cracks may converge, as in an ocher stained pot with an orange glaze. The glaze shrank without exposing much of the clay, gathering in a dense sort of low-relief and a pattern suggestive of viscera.
His glazes feel experimental, but he always seemed to know what he was doing. Mr. Swallow said over the phone that Mr. Lane uses the kiln like a tool, understands how what is placed in the kiln affects the results, and knows when to interrupt his preemptive firing. said he knew.
The diminutiveness of these vessels met several needs, but most important was the desire to earn a living at work, which he did. His small kiln was used efficiently and easily transported. Lane has had only a few gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles and no other locations. He sold his pot in showrooms he built adjacent to his studio, craft fairs, and sometimes door-to-door. But the main feature of the small size was aesthetics. Lane excelled in compression and made the little things look bigger. The small size meant that encounters with his work were up close, complete and detailed. Following Lane’s glaze, the most interesting point in so many “weed his pots” coming together is how Lane’s sensibilities for shape, weight and volume are revealed. . A pot with a round silhouette can also be round, like a softball. Usually, however, the volume gently undulates either up or down, conveying a quiet, lively balance.
Lane once said many of his colors didn’t exist until he figured out how to make them. Its originality is just one way his weed pots have gone beyond craft to being works of art. They form historical peaks that reach across mediums and cultures. These are timeless period pieces.
Doyle Lane: Weed Pot
Through August 4, David Kordansky Gallery, 520 West 20th Avenue, Manhattan. davidkordanskygallery.com; 212-390-0079.