Unhidden: the art of Ronald Lockett
“I feel like every time I make a piece of artwork I express myself strongly so that a person can feel something.”
honest layers that
witness hurt, test memory,
note the silences
of secrets, now unhidden
with forgiveness and regret
Ronald Lockett’s “Trapped” series records the complex relations between humans and the living world. How do we treat animals? the environment? each other?
I managed to visit the retrospective of Lockett’s found art last week at the Museum of American Folk Art, right before it closed. These are powerful works.
Lockett felt the world deeply, as the works from his Oklahoma City bombing series, above, show. “You try to be honest about what you are trying to say,” he said about them. He acknowledged his debt to quilts in their construction.
His responses to the homeless
and the holocaust
are reminders that the importance of bearing witness has no time frame.
Lockett also made many tributes to those he knew and admired. Above, a work honoring Jesse Owens, intricately formed in tin.
He painted “Instinct for Survival” when his brother went missing in the Gulf War.
And his tin tributes to his great aunt Sarah Lockett, the woman that raised both him and his cousin, the artist Thornton Dial, reflect both her love of gardening, and her quilts.
Ronald Lockett died in 1998 at age 32 from AIDS-related pneumonia.
You can read more about him here.
My poem uses the secret keeper’s words this week
WIT – HURT – NOTE – HONEST – TEST