sam lock

His works are an exploration into the rhythms and currents of painting, a journey between and through layers, a build-up of moments in time and intuitions followed. The alchemy of the painting process transforms this time-spent into a physical and tangible history. They are an invitation to become lost and tangled in their surface, to find something new each time you look and hold the gaze, to make a connection with the senses, paintings you feel. They whisper suggestions. Each work is a mystery and a contradiction that is at once solid and substantial yet elusive.

Change is a process not an event, there is a continual flow and movement around us and in us, a constant conversion of what is happening now into the past. Locks works are made in that space, their appearance is created by it and the way they communicate relies upon it.  They are not made with a system or fixed process but through an energy that is built on Change and Chance, organic and unscripted. Each painting or sculpture or space follows its own path until there is a balance between presence and absence; where there are silences and hiding places that are both poetic and activating. 

There is a physicality to Locks practice, an immediacy; his aim to ‘submit’ himself to the canvas, eliminating extraneous thought in order to guarantee a purity of response, in which concentration and intuition, thought and action, go hand-in-hand. This is what Lock refers to as the poetry of moments, of the spiritual nature of now becoming then, and how what started as waves of actions, becomes a forest of memory.

Lock is interested in things that communicate both instantly and slowly; how to slow down the viewers perception, to create forms that don’t reveal themselves fully, all at once, that have complexity and hooks and clues.  The act of practice is for him, a filling up and emptying of space and surface; traces and echoes exist in a palimpsest, a build-up of painted marks, layers and statements that conceal and reveal, where time becomes held in a concrete way and the painting achieves a physical weight and substance.  These layers allow you to swim in and out of the painting, they lead back in time. This is not a romantic or nostalgic notion though; Locks paintings retain a mystery but also more the dynamism of the moment rather than the mists of yesterday.

The works physical presence is an intrigue, sparking unplanned journeys through a painted space, drawn by the attractions of the terrain and what is encountered there.  Each work creates a situation and is looking to hold a gaze and facilitate the sense of space in between the viewer and itself. This liminal space echoes his fascination with the dramatic silences deployed by Pinter, or the overlapping of past and present in Beckett plays or prose. Often below the word that is spoken is the thing known and unspoken and it is this ambiguous territory that Lock is drawn to; to try and find that language in painting where underneath what is said, another thing is being said or suggested.  These principles of uncertainty, where all is in flux, where imagination is key, give his work its metaphysical sense; of travelling without destination, roads to nowhere or anywhere.

Born in 1973 in London, Sam Lock now lives and works near Brighton with his studio in a converted industrial unit further up the coast.  Lock studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University, graduating in 1997 with MA’s in both Fine Art and Art History. 

During his training, he won a scholarship to travel to Rome, and explore the relationship between history, archaeology and the processes of painting, a preoccupation which still forms the conceptual basis that underpins his practice. 

➤ exhibitions

➤ press