Worship Street, Bischopsgate
Glass sculptor Danny Lane knows the element of surprise well. His famous works shun logic: stairs that lead nowhere, a chair with stiletto-heel feet, an inviting bed that fails to be comfortable. He applies a light touch to large-scale installations, and his products are at once polished and jagged. His material is reflective, solid, weighs like stone and can be stronger than granite — yet it is transparent, as if barely there. And that must be why he likes it so much. “Glass is as paradoxical as it is engaging,” says Lane.
This is partly the result of inspiration, and partly of training. Lane looks to history, travel and indigenous art. He says: “I learn most from original cultures, from the cave paintings at Lascaux [in France], to the high development of the art of ancient Egypt and Greece, to that of China and Japan.” Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí was also an early inspiration. Lane travelled often when he was younger — born in Illinois, USA, he migrated with his family to Europe when he was seven. They moved to New York when he was 12 and eventually settled in Baltimore. When school didn’t work out at age 18, he explored the USA and Canada.
Lane formally studied stained glass and painting in England, and the rest he learned through observation, experimentation and apprenticeships. In 1975 he worked in London as a student assistant to stained-glass craftsman and artist Patrick Reyntiens. Lane liked to visit small workshops in London’s Hackney district, which still retained old craftsmen’s skills. Even as he grew his own studio, he continued to experiment with new techniques with artists working in glass and in other disciplines.