Steven Locke, Homage to the Auction Block #44-respite. Gouache on panel. 16 x 16 inches. June 2020. (LaMontagne Gallery)

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Live on Facebook and Youtube
Artists Steve Locke and Ben Hall will discuss Locke’s current work, Homage to the Auction Block, a series informed by Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square. Much of Locke’s earlier work deals with the human body and the grid. With his newest work he has moved from the anonymous, embattled body to the very specific body of the individual. In Homage to the Auction Block, Locke brings color theory to his ongoing dialogue on images of racial exploitation in American history including the conflicted past Locke explored in the Auction Block Hall Proposal and the Three Deliberate Grays for Freddie at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Steve Locke was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his M.F.A. in 2001 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and attended Skowhegan in 2002. He has had residencies with the City of Boston (2018), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (2016), and The MacDowell Colony (2015). He has received grants from Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and Art Matters Foundation. He has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Locke has done projects with ForFreedoms, Kickstarter, the Boston Public Library, the Gardner Museum, and P.S. Satellites/Prospect IV in New Orleans and has had gallery exhibitions with yours mine & ours, Samsøñ, Gallery Kayafas, and Mendes Wood. His work has been reviewed in ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art New England, JUXTAPOZ, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker. Currently a Professor at Pratt Institute, Steve is a painter whose work lives at the intersections of portraiture, identity, and modernism. He uses painting’s ability to direct the gaze to help us look critically and unflinchingly at our shared history. His work can be seen at

Photo credit: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Ben Hall, Detroit-based artist and composer. He received his undergraduate degree from Bennington College where he focused on Quaker-based mediation and conflict resolution and studied drums with Milford Graves. Hall produces new American improvisation on his record labels brokenresearch and Ornette Coleman Fiend Club, including the last small group recordings of visionary trumpeter and composer Bill Dixon. His practice also includes curating, the world’s largest online Black American spiritual collection.

Hall has written for The Wire and BOMB and was profiled in Fred Moten’s book Black and Blur (Consent not to be a single being). Hall contributed the essay “Face Changer” to BMCM+AC 2018 exhibition catalogue Between Form and Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College. His upcoming exhibition 2021 exhibition at Essex Flowers is titled Jives n Gambles and focuses on the work of Philip Guston and William Faulkner as interlocutors of racism.