Object of Dread

Steve Locke & Creighton Baxter at Castledrone
April 13 - June 1, 2018, Reception: April 13, 6-9p
Boston, MA —CASTLEDRONE pairs recent Artist-in-Residence Creighton Baxter with renowned painter and educator Steve Locke for an exhibition of paintings and photos. Object of Dread presents the artists’ attention to that which attracts, that which repels and the implications of externalized and internalized fears of specific bodies and identities. This attention is communicated in a rich language of aesthetic gesture, both artists situating themselves within a lexicon of the figure, space and abstraction in contemporary art.

Locke’s “Cruising” series pits two figures in a stage-like composition. In The Opportunists Locke recounts a childhood memory of seeing two men in a bathroom stall, one standing in a paper bag to conceal his feet. The work speaks to an experience of hiding-in-plain-sight, the illusion of there being “nothing to see here” and “business as usual” while illuminating the danger of gay love. Painted over a decade ago, Locke’s Cruising series reasserts itself in 2018 as a reminder of how relevant these concerns are to today; the violence against queer folks implied in an image where two men have been caught together.

Baxter’s recent performance and drawings, Vulnerable Evidence, created while in residency at Castledrone in January, presents the figure as an opportunity of “seeing in” to the concepts driving the work. In drawing, the body and with space, Baxter describes the presence of a spectral figure, the residual haunting of someone who is both there and not there. Photo documentation and performance accessories on view in this exhibition situate these elements in relation to lived experiences of power, loss and stress.

These artists are united by a rage that cannot be hidden, only disassembled (Baldwin, James. Stranger in the Village, 1953), one that unfolds over time, through generations and through the body; studies of security and sexuality, through processes and materials that connect the earth, blood and flesh (Laird, Tessa. The Red Thread from “A Rainbow Reader”, 2013). Object of Dread is as much an exhibition as an exercise in learning by remembering. What might be made evident to us by revisiting and drawing connections between these artists’ engagement in the politics of desire, representations of Otherness and being hurt, spaces where there is little room for argument and even less for justice?
Steve Locke and CASTLEDRONE’s Anthony Palocci Jr. and Maggie Cavallo have been engaged in critical dialogue painting, art in society and education since 2009. In 2013, Baxter spent hours in Locke’s solo-exhibition there is no one left to blame at ICA Boston, looking, listening and finding direction n the vigor and integrity of Locke’s work. It was this same year, Baxter and Cavallo collaborated in an exhibition of The Highest Closet at Montserrat College of Art. CASTLEDRONE is fortunate to build from these touchstones a purposeful point of connection and reflection, a “touching base” in the form of an exhibition representing our long-term investment in the artists’ work and our valued opportunity to be in dialogue with them.

Steve Locke (b. 1963 USA) is a Boston-based artist born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received a B.S. from Boston University, and a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In 2001, he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, The Art Matters Foundation, and the LEF Foundation Contemporary Work Fund Grant. His solo exhibition, there is no one left to blame, was curated by Helen Molesworth for the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. He is represented by Samsøn in Boston. He has had solo exhibitions with Mendes Wood in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a solo project at VOLTA5 in Basel, Switzerland. He has had work in group shows in Boston, New York, Pennsylvania, Savannah, Seattle, Sao Paulo, and Beijing. His work has been reviewed in ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art New England, JUXTAPOZ, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker. He writes the blog, art and everything after. Locke was a visiting associate professor in painting at Yale in 2014 and is currently an Associate Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Creighton Baxter’s (b. 1990 USA) practice crosses various material engagements with an emphasis on performance, performative documentation and drawing. The direction of her newest work pulls towards drawing and specifically the use of graphite to map durational movements. Baxter was raised in Phoenix, AZ and received her B.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University Boston with a concentration in Performance, Queer Studies and Visual and Critical Studies. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including: Golden Thread Gallery, Galerie Zurcher, Rhizome.org, as well as participated in performance works and projects by Amanda Coogan (The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Jarbas Lopez (Arizona State University Art Museum) and Lyle Ashton Harris (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art).