Doyle Lane – Ceramist

1. Mutual Savings and Loan Mural, 1964, clay, 17 × 8 ft.; 2. Small vases or as the artist called them, “weed pots”; 3. Doyle Lane posing with one of his ceramic “paintings”

As much as I love art, I’ve never really paid much attention to ceramics. So out of sheer boredom and curiosity, I decided to research the medium. Low and behold, I find out about Doyle Lane and my love affair begins.

I was immediately attracted to the simple beauty of Lane’s work. But as is the case with most artists, the simplicity is a stamp of mastery. Lane was an innovator who transformed his work from functional pieces such as vases, bowls, and the like to large ceramic ‘paintings” most notably, the mural he created in 1964 for the Mutual Savings and Loan office. The mural consists of thousands of hand formed, fired, and glazed disks intricately placed together on several panels. To glaze the color red is a tricky process yet Lane used the unpredictable results to his advantage, allowing the variations of the color to give the piece depth and richness.

There isn’t much information about Doyle Lane available but what is known is impressive. During a time when representation of black artists was essentially nonexistent in museums and galleries, Lane earned his living as an active artist and maintained a studio in the El Sereno district in Los Angeles. His career speaks to his ingenuity.

Now thanks to Lane’s work, I will no longer turn a blind’s eye to ceramics. I’ll definitely be on the look out to see his work up close and personal!