It’s hard to believe that simple loops of metal wire can be transformed into complex forms like hands and feet, but Stevie Lane ’15 makes it possible. She is exploring the twists and turns of wire sculpture through an independent study with Sculptor-in-Residence John Bisbee.

Lane is using this semester to make a self-portrait out of black annealed rebar wire, playing off a similar project that she enjoyed in Sculpture II.

“Bowdoin doesn’t have [a sculpture course] after Sculpture II, so I spoke with Bisbee and asked if I could do an independent study with him in wire, since that was something I really loved when I did it in Sculpture II,” said Lane.

“Bisbee was really encouraging in terms of what I made [for that assignment], so that was really my kind of reason for wanting to continue to explore my ability to articulate shapes with wire and work with realism instead of the abstract,” she said.

The personal power of a self-portrait interested Lane.

“Self-portraits are so much a part of the tradition of drawing...I can’t draw well, but I see this as my own interpretation of the self-portrait assignment—just that it’s three dimensional and my “graphite” is the wire itself!” she added in an email to the Orient.

Lane hopes that this self-portrait—set in heroic scale, which is about one and a half times the size of her own body—will ultimately be free-standing. However, making a large structures like a full-body self-portrait and having it support itself will be a challenging task.

Since she doesn’t weld or solder the wire, “There’s potential for [the sculpture] to be a lot weaker,” said Lane. “You also have to come up with creative ways to attach things.”

Therefore, her final project, which will go on display in the beginning of December, may not end up being a fully-formed figure but instead a series of body parts like hands. To Lane, the final product is not her only goal for the independent study.

“You really get to learn...about your material,” she said. “By narrowing your focus, you have to push yourself to dig deeper...and [to see] what comes out of that.”

Lane is more familiar with the “hot” connections created by glue or soldering than the type of work she is currently pushing herself to explore.

“Ever since I was really young…[my mom and I] used to put down newspaper and get hardware like nuts and bolts and s-hooks…I used to make these little animals by hot gluing hardware together,” she said.

Lane is a Government and Legal Studies major with an English minor and hasn’t taken any visual arts courses outside of sculpture. However, she said Bisbee is one of her favorite professors.

“This independent study is just an excuse to get to work closely with him,” she said.
“He, I think, is somehow able to get everybody to produce the best work that they possibly could and I don’t even know how he does it,” said Lane.

While she has at times considered a career in art, it seems that sculpting and metal-working will remain a serious hobby.

“I don’t really know how far I could pursue art. I don’t even know how I’d begin, but it’s definitely something that I’m always going to do on the side, something I do do all the time when I’m at home,” she said.

Lane’s involvement on campus extends beyond her sculpture. She also hosts a radio show, co-leads the volunteer program Book Buddies where students work with ESL students at local schools, contributes to the literary magazine The Quill, and pole vaulted on the varsity track team up until this year. Next semester, she will be pursuing an independent study in creative writing, her other artistic interest.