Author(s): Bill Lane
In 1974, Lewis Baltz’s seminal work, “The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California”, explored a common American theme (the promised land defiled) in an uncommon place. For Baltz, industrial parks were a new phenomenon which would “cause severe dislocations in the local economy”. He was interested in “the effect of this kind of urbanism … Was it a world people could live in? Really?”
The Australian landscape rarely elicits such blatant anger. Our notion of landscape seems very different. Baltz documented the short term impact of money on place, while Lane’s project explores the mildly subversive impact of people after the event (more erosion than explosion), transforming Baltz’s stark Californian minimalism into an ethereal antipodean nocturne.
Lane and Baltz’s aims seem different, and yet, they are very much connected. Both projects are rooted in an exploration of place and time, there and here, then and now, Lane and Baltz.
Bill Lane was born in Melbourne in 1962. He was a finalist in 1992’s Felix H. Mann Memorial Prize at the National Gallery of Victoria and was acquired as part of the Hugh Williamson bequest for inclusion in “Sites of the Imagination”. His 1996 project “Shades” was included in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s “The Object of Existence” and subsequently in Chris McAuliffe’s book “Art and Suburbia”.