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Steve Locke

the daily practice of painting-#65, 2020, Acrylic gouache on Claybord panel, 6 x 6 in (2.36 x 2.36 cm)

Steve Locke's one person exhibition the daily practice of painting at Moss Arts Center at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA.

The institutions press release follows:

Steve Locke’s series, the daily practice of painting, invites the viewer to consider the artist’s dedication to his craft. Consisting of a daily record of Locke’s painting practice, this exhibition features a series of small male portraits. In this series, Locke also considers themes of identity and self-expression. The 6 x 6-inch portraits appear similar, yet a closer inspection reveals individual personalities and moods of the subjects depicted. Using a broad palette of colors and expressive brushstrokes, Locke imbues his figures with a variety of emotions, asking the viewer to consider each individual portrait in contrast to the repetition of scale in the series.

the daily practice of painting is a daily affirmation to Locke’s belief in everyday work. Labor is his and not dependent on outside approval.

Artist Statement

I believe in work. It has been my most reliable solution.

I have never believed in inspiration or safety as a condition for work or for anything else. The former is unreliable and the latter is a stranger to me. If a sense of safety were a necessity to being an artist, I never would have become one. I did not want to have to depend on something or someone outside of me to make my work. I did not want to have to look for validation or support or welcome or encouragement because I knew from bitter experience that those things are subject to whims and fashion.

I could not build a practice on anything on which I could not depend. That meant that I had to develop a sense of things I thought were worth investigating and a sense of what is at stake in being an artist alive at this moment. The things that interest me as an artist today are the same things that have interested me my entire life. Even though the materials of the work may shift, the concerns are the same across all of the bodies of work. What some people think of as ventures into other media are for me an extension of my practice as a painter.

So I work everyday in some way. These paintings are an example of my daily practice. They are 6 x 6 inches square on Claybord. Most are gouache, a couple are casein, and a few are high flow acrylic, and they are uploaded in close to chronological order with a few exceptions (the last paintings are the latest). No one asked me to make them and no one needs them. They are the work I do every day.