With installations the world over and an impressive clientele made up of leading designers and architects, Peter Lane has imbued modern pottery with new life. Finding his calling in ceramics relatively late in life, Lane has transcended the classic approach to pottery making and made himself known as a revolutionary in bas-relief. With pieces that act as both works of fine art and as anchors to interior spaces, Lane has set himself apart as the voice to listen to in the world of ceramics.
Hailing from Oak Park, Illinois (with an artistic tradition all its own), Lane was encouraged in his aesthetic pursuits by his high achieving parents. But it was not until the 1990s that Lane seriously devoted himself to ceramics. After, in a much retold anecdote, a trip to a Miami ceramics flea market, he was inspired to take a pottery class in 1994 and was hooked.
Lane’s work fuses the functional with the fine. His oeuvre boasts a wide breadth of small pottery tableware, furniture, fireplace surrounds, and monumental wall installations. In this way, Lane was heavily influenced by his experiences making ceramics in Japan early in his career. Noting that artists there see little difference between the practical and the decorative, he has taken this ideal to heart.
The key to this diversity of production is Lane’s process. With an intimate knowledge of the behavior of his clay, Lane is able to adjust his methods to precision for every project. It is this ability to adapt to the project at hand which has made him the ceramics rock star of designers such as Chahan Minassian and Peter Marino as well as gallerists from Los Angeles to Paris.
Lane has even experimented with creating interiors of his very own. A fixture at art fairs such as Collective Design, Lane has exhibited impressive booths—ones which surround his practical design pieces with walls made completely of his singular ceramic panels. What Lane is going for here is more than an aesthetic, it’s an atmosphere. He pushes for his works to have a monumental scale and feel, enveloping the viewer better than any one wall piece could.
Keenly aware of his pieces’ technical challenges, Lane develops each of them pragmatically, at least at first. Beginning with a solid plan and drawing for each commission, he lets fly when it comes to forming the clay. Calling the process “performative,” Lane uses all manner of tools, not least of which his hands, to shape the clay spontaneously. After forming the clay according to the ideal of the moment, Lane applies any one of a palette of colorful glazes, including ones based on metals such as cobalt and bronze, that give his ceramics a uniquely metallic look.
The work of Peter Lane has found international repute and can be found in galleries, private collections, and museums the world over. In addition to his partnership with Minassian, Lane has shown in Los Angeles’ Gray Gallery, Southampton’s Jeff Lincoln Art + Design, and participated in a show at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami. Since 2009, the artist has had a piece in the permanent collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.