Sam's paintings on canvas grow and change. They are an organic build-up of layers, previous images and tones that are then broken back into, torn away, covered up and pushed back. They are deeply meditative and calming. In contrast, his works on paper are instinctive, energetic and unforgiving. One series feeds the other; both are equally powerful.
Each work is the result of a sequence of intuitive actions; an immediacy that captures the physicality of the moment. A mark put down, a footprint left, the tracks and avenues of Sam's thoughts and their circuits. As a consequence they speak of the history of the time spent on making them, and this is where each works finds its tone of voice; an afternoon of quiet contemplation, a melancholy morning, maybe a burst of end-of-day energy.
"These are part-formed, partial mind-scapes that are part-imagined. Spaces where I have been, left something behind and found something else." SL
Sam trained at Edinburgh University and Art College, graduating with an MA Fine Art Painting and MA History of Art in 1997. He is represented by select galleries in Europe and the USA and his work continues to gain notoriety worldwide.
A VISIT TO
SAM LOCK IN HIS STUDIO
Tucked away an industrial development in Lancing, West Sussex, is an unassuming building housing a very exceptional painter. Sam Lock's place of painting is a light-flooded Aladdin's cave of mark making and process and when you visit be sure to have some time on your hands, because you'll want to stay a while.
Not that this is a place to cozy down. There's no sofa or creature comforts, except for a retired wingback armchair and a stereo. Sam starts and punctuates his working day by listening to music. Mostly it's Bob Dylan but there are others. There may be a seemingly simple line which plays on Sam's mind for a while and in turn influences the direction and tempo of his work that day.
Sam's work is the act of painting. The process. He is a master facilitator of mark and form; discovering questions that come about on his paintings then formulating different ways to find answers. It's this that will make you want to stay a while. The discussions that evolve with Sam about the act and results of painting are energising, inspiring and insightful. He can be prolific, and for good reason as he has galleries all over showing his work - large scale abstract canvases, energetic ink and pencil drawings and small gentle studies, like breathing.
Whenever I visit Sam in his studio I come away with real satisfaction in my soul. There are dribbles and splashes on all surfaces; remnants and loss leaders. There are paintings and blank canvases ordered by size and level of completion. Big sheets of paper pinned to walls while their new surfaces are considered. A sizable bucket of brushes in soak, his favourite with a split handle and worn bristles which give the most interesting of marks.
There are pots of medium and paint, a heat gun and old rags. But there is method and order regardless. Like Sam's paintings, the space is considered and calm.
Last week I popped by to choose some pieces for Battersea AAF and discuss plans for the year ahead. The smell of art school hit me before I'd even opened the door. Sam was in his wingback looking for a Bob Dylan track on his phone, surrounded by some freshly-varnished paintings. Hence the aroma. Our chat that followed further scratched that artschool itch - conversations the like of which I can't recall having anywhere but in the most uplifting and least salubrious of artist studios. Musing on mark, process, tone, form, balance, emotion, character, scale, substance, influence, music ... Time flies in Sam Lock's studio.