in the name of love
RECEPTION + TALK: Feb. 14, 5-7pm
People don’t have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love.
-James Baldwin, Another Country
Steve Locke’s work addresses issues of blackness, queer identity, and love. Through a variety of media, Locke’s work moves between the personal to the political as the artist asks us to see intimate experiences as political and to take the political personally.
The installation when you’re a boy is a drawing-filled room in which one might find a boy alone as he discovers what it means to have a sexual body, to be queer and black, to live in a world at odds with who he is. From the forbidden regions of desire images arise, but are made impossible by all that surrounds him. A related experience, albeit at a different age, is explored in the multipart work, Rapture.
These internal physical sensations are the spark that gives rise to Locke’s work. It then moves outward as the body clashes with the political sphere. But these works are not propelled only by anger. Embedded within this encounter is a thirst for justice and an exploration of desire. There is also a deep expression of love alongside a demand for it, and for social justice, for the fulfillment of promises made, not quashed by the morass of history, prejudice, or politics.
A Partial List of Unarmed African-Americans who were Killed By Police or Who Died in Police Custody During My Sabbatical from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 2014-2015, 2016 fills a window with names, dates, location and manner of death. The rage in that list is born of a love for each of the those lives lost.
“How do you learn to love? Who teaches you?” Locke asks in The School of Love. This multi-pronged installation moves through the often painful road to learning to love—oneself, others. To be loved is made treacherous, as Locke writes, “When every picture/movie/image/idea of you is a criminal/thing/object/void being killed over and over, how can you be loved? Why would you want to be? […] Some of what I was taught took a long time to unlearn.” Keith Miller, Curator
STEVE LOCKE (b. 1963, Cleveland, OH) is a Boston-based artist, raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received an MFA in 2001 from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and holds Bachelors Degrees from Boston University and MassArt. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2002. He has been artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (2016) and for the City of Boston (2018). He has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and The Art Matters Foundation. Solo exhibitions include, there is no one left to blame, curated by Helen Molesworth for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, The School of Love with Samsøñ (Boston, MA), Family Pictures with Gallery Kayafas (Boston, MA) and most recently #Killers at YOURS MINE & OURS in New York. He has had solo projects with the Boston Public Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Mendes Wood in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at VOLTA 5 in Basel, Switzerland, and P.S. Satellites-A Project of Prospect IV in New Orleans. His work has been reviewed in ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art New England, JUXTAPOZ, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker. He is a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.