Angela Lane paints wondrous scenes of atmospheric and celestial phenomena. Mysterious messengers or omens hover in the skies, just in sight but almost always beyond our comprehension. Her small landscapes are grounded in the real world but seek out otherworldly or preternatural experiences. They ask us to look up and out, but also back — especially to the long history of artistic and scientific exploration into sky-bound phenomena, and the larger questions surrounding the mysteries of art and existence they speak to.
Lane’s paintings swirl with the artistic, scientific, and philosophical possibilities that come with moving beyond the surfaces of the world to consider its spirit or essence. Here, she especially communes with German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich who, Lane says, ‘makes the skies speak’, as well as the wider European landscape tradition he is a part of, and the visionary practices of artists like Hilma af Klint, Agnes Pelton and Emma Kunz. These artists all move us between inner and outer worlds, and use art to test the boundaries between seeing, knowing, and believing.
Phosphene is Lane’s first exhibition in Aotearoa New Zealand since returning from a decade of living in Berlin. It coincides with the release of the book Underworlds: A Compelling Journey through Subterranean Realms, Real and Imagined, written by Stephen Ellcock, which places Lane within the artistic lineages her paintings invoke.