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The heads that seem emerge from the thick broad strokes of paint that Locke lays down over dry hazy brushes on the panel’s surface, reveal the lustful yet simultaneously abject expressions on the figure’s faces.
This dichotomy of gestures and sumptuous content suggest how Francis Bacon described the importance of the interconnection of the painting’s image and the paint itself in his 1953 essay on the work of Matthew Smith.[iv] Locke’s portraits converge on the concept of looking, but his gestural variations in mark making expose the relationship of his practice to more basic bodily functions.[v] Facing the figure-like portraits—statuesque, leaning, diminutive, and imbued with gesture both in their three-dimensional forms and in the expressively painted faces of the men—the viewer’s perspective within the space changes.
He presents a mode of looking that is supported by Julia Kristeva’s “notion of intertextuality” which “replaces that of intersubjectivity;” where the tangential force of Locke’s new works shift to “occupy the status of mediator, linking structural models to cultural (historical) environment.”[i] This notion of looking from a space of intertextuality evokes an unstructured, exteriorizing and evasive non-objective gaze that has the potentiality of being momentarily steadied amongst the tangential scatter within which Locke’s works function.
The intersections of text, portraiture and space in Locke’s new works can be examined using Kristeva’s concept of the word within the space of texts; where the sculptural portraits named after their fragmented titles are “signifiers for different modes of (literary) intellection within different genres or texts puts poetic analysis at the sensitive center of contemporary “human” sciences—at the intersection of language (the true practice of thought) with space (the volume within which signification, through a joining of differences, articulates itself).”[ii] is comprised of several portraits of men; a genre that has been present in Locke’s work for over a decade and is a central focus of his practice.
Locke’s new works mediate in pursuit of these questions.
He employs this visual trope in order to explore aspects of the gaze and modes of looking exchanged between and among men.[iii] In these new works, there is something strikingly new about the way Locke presents the notion of looking; the portraits are away from or tangential to the wall and are supported in space by poles and pipes that Locke anchors into the surfaces and into panels and plinths that are placed onto the floor.The bases of these portraits recall the modernist square, inflecting idealized historicisms onto the forms that support the structures.Simultaneously, the industrial poles attached and inserted into the substructure evoke the semblance and function of the body’s internal anatomy.His show, , is “comprised of several portraits of men; a genre that has been present in Locke’s work for over a decade and is a central focus of his practice.In the past six years, the particular gesture of a man’s open mouth with his tongue hanging out has appeared exclusively within this greater context. He was telling you what was going on and wanted you to know that it was complicated, but he was going to break it down for you.