In the industrial warehouses on Cockatoo Island white art has replaced the white walls of a contemporary art gallery. Sculptures and objects sit inside the huge grey rusting metal sheds that should dwarf all within. However, the stark whiteness brings a strength and incredible contrast to the surrounds.
Cal Lane's work titled Domestic Turf sits behind the iron bar doors of one such space. The visitor is invited to enter and walk along a path bordered with red sand. What appears to be decorate floor covering is in fact grey sand on red, in an intricate and careful arrangement reminiscent of a traditional Asian rug; maybe even a prayer mat. This sets the scene for this work.
The path leads our eye to a white rectangular cage set in the centre of the room. It is brightly lit and open for people to step inside. It appears almost as a paper cut out, however, the structure is a shipping container; number 207232 0. Only the rear wall remains in tact, the rest has been sliced into and peeled back. What is left is an ornate and beautiful temple-like creation.
There is a spiritual element to this work. Lane has managed to transform a weighty, ugly but highly functional steel container into a delicate and calm structure. He has taken the rawest of materials; sand, steel and created an oasis. One could read so much into this work. Manipulating our environment; holding on to what has meaning and matters.
The shipping container and culturally influenced design on the floor and container could be about the movement of people across the world. It could be playing with the idea that spirituality is created out of the humblest of objects. Or perhaps he is attempting to create a place of worship. Noticably the other half of the warehouse is bare with only scatterings of sand; it sits neglected and unimportant and represents the impermanence of superficial beauty. Is this a commentary on the adoration of the decorative and beautiful, to the expense of what is earthy and real.
Either way, this is an incredibly strong and impressive work that is made more successful through its placement.