By Maddie Grussendorf
lanebanks Local Artist Spotlight: Lane Banks

(credit: Lane Banks)

Local artist Lane Banks derives inspiration from an area you wouldn’t normally associate with abstract art: geometric, mathematical structure. Banks’ various greys, metallics, and spiraling squares will be on show for his second solo exhibition at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center which opens January 6 and is on view through February 25.

The unique artist recently answered questions from about his show, Concentric Squares, the ideology behind abstract art, and the art scene in Dallas / Fort Worth. How did you get started in geometric art? 

Lane Banks: As a college student, being exposed to the history of abstract art, and art in general. Can you tell us about Concentric Squares, your show at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center? How did the series come about, and how will it differ from your past exhibits? 

Lane Banks: Concentric Squares will be my second solo exhibition at the FWCAC.  It is a great space, with an excellent staff to support the artists and exhibitions.  My work always derives from my other work, so the system within which I operate is somewhat closed.  One piece in particular might suggest a whole series, as is the case with these works that developed out of some earlier paintings in which large areas of the canvas were unpainted, and the compositions more asymmetrical.  I begin these works by dividing the square canvas into a particular number of fields or stripes, then assigning each field a number, which corresponds to a color: in this series, various grays and metallics.  The division of the canvas and color assignment begins at the outer edge of the canvas and spirals toward the center, hence the title Concentric Squares, which refers both to how the paintings are made and their final appearance.  So the entire process of color placement is determined before the work is painted; nothing is changed or improvised after the work is begun.  The exhibit will be the first time just the Concentric Squares will be shown as a group without works from other series.

lanebanks2 Local Artist Spotlight: Lane Banks

(credit: Lane Banks) On FWCAC’s website you wrote that many people are still challenged by the idea of purely abstract art. Do you see a changing opinion of acceptance in the students you teach at SMU? How influential is your unique, artistic opinion in the classroom? 

Lane Banks: Generally, when people have little familiarity with something, it is not accepted because of its difference to what is already known.  My experience is that the vast majority of people still believe that the visual arts must have some basis in the perceptual world; that they must have, as their origin, something observed by the artist.  Abstract artists such as myself justify our work using the analogy of music as an independent art form that does not copy the sound of nature, and that visual artists use the basic elements of artmaking as themselves and which are not disguised by subject matter.  This is a principle that reaches back about 100 years to the first abstract works by such artists as Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian.  It is a much more honest approach, one that is more real than the copying of images that already exist in nature.  As with any field of knowledge, most people are more accepting once they understand the artists’ intents and motivations. What do you think about the local arts scene in DFW? Do you think there’s a dynamic use of mathematical structure?  

Lane Banks: The local art scene is vibrant, varied and dynamic.  For my purposes, the Geometric Museum in Dallas is solely devoted to abstract art from around the world, and I have exhibited and visited there often.  Of the artists whose work is abstract, not everyone originates from a mathematical base, as I do, so the group of mathematical artists who I personally know about is comparatively small.

Concentric Squares is on view at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center through February 25, 2012.

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Sun Closed