David Lock Explores Masculinity And Queer Identity At Firstsite

David Lock Firstsight

David Lock has unveiled his latest exhibition, “In-between Us,” at the Firstsite in Colchester. This solo show features a distinctive blend of Lock’s existing works and new paintings, offering visitors a unique insight into his unparalleled artistic vision.

Against Colchester’s rich Roman history, Lock’s art bridges the gap between antiquities and contemporary society. His fascination with Roman antiquity and classical statues is evident throughout his work, which often juxtaposes these classical motifs with modern representations of the male body.

At the heart of Lock’s practice is his innovative approach to collage. By cutting and rearranging images from fashion magazines, he creates striking compositions that serve as the foundation for his paintings. This technique, exemplified in his acclaimed Misfit series, allows Lock to explore themes of masculinity and queer identity in a dynamic and multifaceted manner.

David Lock has unveiled his latest exhibition, "In-between Us," at the Firstsite in Colchester. This solo show features a distinctive blend of Lock's existing works and new paintings
David Lock Firstsite Installation View

One of the exhibition’s highlights is a series of works commissioned by Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a prominent figure in Essex’s LGBTQ+ community. Among these works is a portrait of Drewitt-Barlow’s eldest children, Saffron and Aspen, who made headlines in the late 1990s as the first children born to a gay couple via surrogacy. Through these portraits, Lock celebrates the changing landscape of family structures and challenges societal norms surrounding parenthood and identity.

“In-between Us” also delves into the influence of working-class men’s fashion on queer culture, offering a thought-provoking exploration of style and identity within marginalised communities.

Reflecting on his exhibition, Lock expresses gratitude for the opportunity to share his work with the public, including pieces that were previously private commissions. His innovative use of colour and composition invites viewers to reconsider their preconceptions of masculinity and engage with complex narratives of identity and representation.

Sally Shaw MBE, Director of Firstsite, praises Lock’s exhibition for its thought-provoking examination of masculinity and identity. She emphasises the importance of art in challenging societal constructs and shedding light on hidden histories, noting the exhibition’s relevance to Colchester’s cultural heritage.

David Lock lives and works in London. He graduated from Goldsmiths, London, with an MA in Fine Art in 2001, following a first-class BA (Hons) in Fine Art from The University of Reading in 1999. Upon graduation, he joined Candoco Dance Company as a dancer for several years before returning to his art practice in 2005. He has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally. Lock was a prize-winner in the ‘Creekside Open 2019, selected by Sacha Craddock at APT Gallery, London. In 2018, he had a solo show, ‘Fragmented Eros’ at Studio 1.1, London, where he presented a new body of work. His painting ‘El Muniria’ was selected for the ‘John Moores Painting Prize, 2018’, after which the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool acquired the painting for its permanent collection. Commissions include designing a geometric stage set in ‘Set and Reset/Reset’ for Candoco’s 20th anniversary season in 2011, in association with Trisha Brown Dance Company. Revived in 2016 and since 2021, it is part of Candoco’s current repertoire. Lock received the prestigious Abbey Award at the British School in Rome between October 2011 and June 2012. In 2021, he curated the exhibition ‘Burra and Friends’ at Rye Art Gallery, which showcased the work of Edward Burra and his contemporaries, together with contemporary Queer artists. His most recent commission, in 2022, is for the arts charity Hospital Rooms.

Firstsite, known for its commitment to showcasing exceptional art and culture, is the perfect setting for Lock’s exhibition. The gallery’s inclusive ethos and dedication to community engagement align with Lock’s vision of art as a catalyst for social change and empowerment.

“In-between Us” is a compelling exploration of masculinity, identity, and representation. It invites audiences to relook at established narratives and embrace new perspectives. With its strong range of artworks and thought-provoking themes, this exhibition is to be noticed.

Top Photo: David Lock Photo Courtesy Firstsite 2024

 David Lock: In-between Us Firstsite  from 23 March to 23 June 2024

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