Sam Lock paints with his whole being. Using blowtorches and sanders as well as the brush, he sees each canvas as a dramatic empty landscape to be battled with. Sanded, stained, scorched and sealed, each work is the result of a continuous process of making - a repeated cycle of building up, layering and destruction. The works have an elusive feeling, revealing layers of past images and tones that drop in and out of themselves. This sense of painterly excavation brings attention to the movement of the mind and the residue of action, and the pervading sense of unpredictability. The physicality of Lock’s process is pervasive throughout his paintings. His expansive gestures and sweeping movements on a monumental scale as well as his smaller works, where marks made by the movement of the wrist are added to paper, translate into an energetic artistic presence visible throughout his works. Compositionally, his paintings range from works of great spatial and textural complexity, to those of minimalist restraint, evidencing his understanding of the power of the understatement.
Lock’s obsession with ‘the presence of absence’ is evident throughout his works. Inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, the selfsame spoken word and protracted silence influence Lock’s practice. His painterly language of abstract marks and signs contribute to an exploration of the ways silence and interval might be performed visually. The concept of time has been one of Lock’s primary themes in painting - time to create; history and memory and traces of other times and places. This ‘poetry of yesterday’ is sensed in all of his paintings. They are not paintings that reveal themselves immediately. They require the viewer to slow down and step back, to take the time to discern and contemplate the deeper vibrations of the works. Acting as an interface between the aware and the unaware, the paintings’ surfaces create a connection between inner and outer worlds. According to Lock, ‘the best paintings nurture you from looking, into feeling,’ creating an experience that evolves from an artwork.