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Steve Locke

you don’t deserve me

2012

empire, 2009-2012, Oil on beveled panel spray painted on rear, spray paint on steel pole, connectors and floor flanges, wood base with beveled top, collage, acrylic and latex paint

empire, 2009-2012

Oil on beveled panel spray painted on rear, spray paint on steel pole, connectors and floor flanges, wood base with beveled top, collage, acrylic and latex paint

10 x 10 x 3 in 

you're my dog (2011), oil on panel

you're my dog (2011)

oil on panel

12 x 16 in 

exercise caution, (2008-2012), Oil on panel

exercise caution, (2008-2012)

Oil on panel

12 x 12 in (30.48 x 30.48 cm)

you don't deserve me (2009-2012), Oil and collage on beveled panel, spray painted on rear, stripped steel pole, and floor flanges, wood base with beveled top, enamel on panel with spray paint bottom, Turkish prayer rug

you don't deserve me (2009-2012)

Oil and collage on beveled panel, spray painted on rear, stripped steel pole, and floor flanges, wood base with beveled top, enamel on panel with spray paint bottom, Turkish prayer rug

10 x 16 x 20 in

Description

A defining feature of much of Steve Locke’s practice is an exploration of how meaning and
identity are encoded through portraiture, with a particular focus on male desire, vulnerability,
and gazes. Out of his exploration came a recurring theme of a man’s head with a tongue
hanging out of his mouth—simultaneously comical, vulnerable, sensual, even disturbing—a
motif that dominates his 2012 series you don’t deserve me. Discussing this peculiar visual, Locke
explains that “It’s hard to think of someone as powerful when their tongue is hanging out of
their mouth. That might be an indication of lust or stupidity or absent-mindedness…it's
something that goes against this sort of intact, whole, contained representation of men that’s
the hallmark of portraiture.”


Employing tactics like mounting portraits on plumbing fixtures and using brightly painted
beveled-edge stretchers to make the portraits appear to hover against the white walls, works in
you don’t deserve me break away from the traditional surface of the wall and are imbued with a
very physical, almost anthropomorphic presence. By asserting their presence into the physical
space of the viewer, Locke’s portraits are granted the ability to gaze back, creating a grid of
‘gazes’ between the observer and the observed. According to Locke, it’s like “They’re floating
around in the atmosphere, waiting to possess somebody, or get inside your head and transform
you.”