"Steve Locke (born 1963) is an African American artist who explores figuration and perceptions of the male figure, and themes of masculinity and homosexuality through drawing, painting, sculpture and installation art. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, raised in Detroit, Michigan and is currently living and working in Boston, Massachusetts where he teaches at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Locke’s art explores the meaning applied to male portraiture. His works comprise several portraits of men - for almost a decade, he has reworked the particular gesture of a man with his tongue hanging out of his open mouth. "It’s hard to make a painting of a man and not have him look important. So I came up with this weird gesture," Steve Locke explained in an interview with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. "I like that they’re not heroic, and not attached to any body,"he said of his pieces, which straddle the line between sculpture and painting. "They’re floating around in the atmosphere, waiting to possess somebody, or get inside your head and transform you." He aims to "make paintings of men who were vulnerable, or exposed, without using the obvious trope of nudity."His work provokes broader social, sexual and art historical conversations."