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Donald Locke: The Plantation Series

Brochure relating to an exhibition, 2016
Published by: Skoto Gallery
Year published: 2016

image of Donald Locke: The Plantation Series

Folded brochure for Donald Locke: The Plantation Series - Paintings and Sculptures which took place at Skoto Gallery, 529 W. 20th Street, New York, NY1001, April 14-May 28, 2016.

A concise text on the exhibition appeared inside the brochure, along with a portrait of the artist, taken by Gene Nocon in the mid 1970s. Two images of Locke’s work appeared in the brochure, one on the cover.

Brochure text as follows:

Skoto Gallery has selected a historically important group of Donald Locke’s paintings and sculptures from the 1970s, which were completed while the artist was living in London. These works from the Plantation Series, are being shown posthumously in the U.S. for the first time.

For Locke, the series served as a metaphor for the corrosive plantation system of labor in Guyana. The village where he was born and grew up is wedged between two sugar cane plantations. The artist has stated that the “forms are connected together, as if with chains, within an arrangement of metal bars and grids” not unlike the system whereby one group of people are kept down by another.

Rooted in this oeuvre of the 1970s is the sculptural installation, Trophies of Empire, which was acquired by Tate Britain in 2015, and was included in their Artist and Empire exhibition. Trophies was described in that catalogue as “the masterpiece presenting ceramic forms, vessels and other found objects in a wooden structure like a monument”, reiterating the memory of the sugar cane stems in Guyana.

The Skoto exhibition presents works that link Trophies of Empire (from early 1970), the Plantation and Black Boxgroups (from the mid 1970s), that culminate in two Guggenheim projects executed in Arizona from 1979-1981. The latter included a landscape event, Arizona Squares, where he made and took fifteen black canvases into the Arizona desert to be photographed in various configurations, thus attempting a completely new statement about the Arizona landscape. The interior installation was titled The Room: an Environment with Fifteen Black Surfaces. It was a room of many varied surfaces and the color black. It included forms in wood, canvas, glass, bronze, and found objects. It has been described as “a room that is not a stage, not a box, but a personal narrative chamber that is also a formal, austerely balanced work”. The project was extensively photographed and will eventually be published along with Arizona Squares. These paintings and sculptures from the 1970s embody some of the most politically charged work of all of Donald Locke’s 50-year practice.

The references in the text were listed as coming from sources such as The Other Story (1989)

Related people

»  Donald Locke

Born, 1930 in Stewartville, Guyana. Died, 2010

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Skoto Gallery

New York, United States of America