Not Only for Art’s Sake

October 10, 2013
BY Simone Ellin
Spinning beauty into tzedakah
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Dr. Dean Kane, with the help of his wife, Lauri, will hold his first exhibition later this month. Proceeds will benefit The Red Devils. (Photos by David Stuck)

Dr. Dean Kane spends his life making people’s lives, and the spaces in which they live and work, more lovely. As one of Baltimore’s leading plastic surgeons, Dr. Kane, 59, has been helping patients improve their appearances for more than a quarter-century. As an artist, he has added color, texture and beauty to their surroundings. In both cases, Dr. Kane’s work has transformed the lives of others not only by aesthetic standards, but also by the emotions they inspire in both patients and art lovers.

He and his wife/business partner, Lauri, 58, will make an even more significant impact when they host Art for Hope, an event celebrating the opening of Dr. Kane’s first public art exhibition, which will benefit The Red Devils, an organization that supports Maryland’s breast cancer patients and their families. The event will take place on Oct. 16 in The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton Residences located on the Federal Hill waterfront. The evening will include light fare, an open bar, signature cocktails and a silent auction and raffle.

Art for Hope will honor Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her mother, Dr. Nina Rawlings, a breast cancer survivor.

“My art has evolved since the 1960s when I first became involved with photography,” Dr. Kane said.
“I began taking photographs when I was 13, and by 14 I had my own dark room.”

As time went on, Dr. Kane was drawn to more sculptural work and developed an interest in metals. With the advent of digital photography, he discovered Adobe Photoshop that would eventually enable him to create a technique that he calls PhotoSculpture.

PhotoSculpture starts with a single photograph. Dr. Kane takes a digital image, uploads it to his computer and then manipulates it — embellishing it, changing its shape, reconfiguring it, reconstructing it and enhancing its colors. Once he has an image he likes, he prints the photo, making as many as 50 copies. He then formats the picture by cutting out each part of each image by hand.

“Each petal is part of a photograph I took,” said Dr. Kane, pointing to a large three-dimensional flower that hangs on The Ritz-Carleton’s gallery wall. “Then, I layer the cut-out parts of the images on top of each other over and over again until I get the three-dimensional image I envisioned.”

Each cut-out layer is decorated with acrylic paint; wires and metal mesh, or other materials are added; and finally, the whole image is lacquered. The art ranges from 10-by-10 inches to as large as 40-by-40 inches, said Lauri Kane.

One of the most striking aspects of Dr. Kane’s work are the vivid colors.

Dr. Dean Kane’s decorative three-dimensional art is inspired by photography. “Each petal is a part of a photograph I took,” he said. (Photos David Stuck)

Dr. Dean Kane’s decorative three-dimensional art is inspired by photography. “Each petal is a part of a photograph I took,” he said. (Photos David Stuck)

“You can’t get colors like this with pigment, but you can when you work with photography,” he said. “When you deconstruct a photo with Photoshop and then reconstruct it with layers, the original image takes on a whole different character.”

Dr. Kane’s collection includes a series of sculptures and modular pieces, some based on subjects such as Ray Lewis, the Ravens and the Orioles; others depict the doctor’s interpretations of natural phenom-ena (such as the four seasons), Van Gough’s lilies and many types of flowers. Dr. Kane said his work has been influenced by pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock.

Not all of Dr. Kane’s work is exclusively decorative. He has also created usable art in the form of a set of
multimedia vases.

“If you do everything on the wall, you’re missing the ceiling and the base,” he said.

The vases, which are constructed similarly to his other works, are made functional by a glass vase that is placed inside the decorative outer shell.

One of his most original creations is a three-dimensional scrapbook of his life that Dr. Kane calls “MyWall.”

The scrapbook consists of images attached to modular squares that can be removed or rearranged as desired. Each square represents important people and events in Dr. Kane’s life; there are images of family members, friends and scenes of New York, where the Kanes used to live.

Much of Dr. Kane’s art has been inspired by the traveling he and Lauri have done over their 40 years tog-ether. In fact, he is quick to credit his wife with much of his success.

“I may have a unique gift for art, but Lauri’s gift is communication,” said her husband. Lauri Kane, who has a Ph.D. in public health, was instrumental in obtaining The Ritz-Carlton’s gallery space for her husband’s exhibition, as well as organizing the fundraiser for The Red Devils. She is extremely proud of the work the organization does with only one full-time (and one part-time) staff member.
“Everyone else is a volunteer,” she said.
“We are in 40 hospitals, all in Maryland, and we raise about $600,000 a year. Our funding takes care of child care, transportation, BGE bills, rent and food for breast cancer patients — and their families — while they are undergoing treatment,” said Lauri Kane, who is on the board of directors for The Red Devils. “And what’s really great is that we do this without red tape. There is no paperwork, no waiting. Women and their families receive funds immediately as long as a nurse practitioner says they need it.”

The Kanes also contribute to Hadassah and Susan G. Komen, among others.

“All the pieces [on display in the gallery] are for sale, and a percentage of the sales will go to The Red Devils,” said Lauri Kane.

The raffle will be a personalized commission of the winner’s own personal photo.

Art for Hope takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Inner Harbor, 801 Key Highway. The event is free, and complimentary valet parking is provided. For more information and to RSVP, visit deankaneart.com.

Simone Ellin is JT senior features reporter — sellin@jewishtimes.com

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