Ronald Lockett (1965–1998), Rebirth, 1987
Wire, nails, and paint on Masonite, 12 x 18 1/2 in.; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Rebirth, created when Lockett was twenty-two, remains a gateway into all his subsequent artistic thinking. In the work, a quadruped skeleton ("a baby," Lockett called it), a matrix of wire and nails, exits a blue and green zone at right and moves into a black emptiness engulfing most of the picture. The skeleton of Rebirth investigates the liberating potential of non-life. The animal moves backward through the picture, forsaking right for left, adulthood for youth, bigness for smallness, light for dark, terrestriality for absence. Rebirth announced Lockett's lifelong search, as fervid as religion, for new beginnings amid the non-life of urban Black male existence that had been his starting point in the world.
Ronald Lockett (1965–1998) was born in the Pipe Shop neighborhood of Bessemer, Alabama, where he lived his whole life. He graduated from high school but never pursued a traditional trade, having known since elementary school that he wanted to be an artist. Although he toyed with the idea of going to art school, he was dissuaded by his older cousin and neighbor, the artist Thornton Dial, who advised that he "had the best school of all just making artwork." Indeed, Lockett enjoyed an invaluable art education under the close mentorship of Dial, who allowed him to watch his process and offered him endless support.
Over the course of his decade-long career, Lockett produced hundreds of works of art that grappled with the horrors of the twentieth century, such as the Holocaust and Hiroshima, as well as personal matters, notably his great-aunt Sarah Dial Lockett’s death. Global and personal tragedy ultimately converged with his own diagnosis of HIV, and he died from AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 32.
Ronald Lockett’s work is in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, among others.
Learn more about Ronald Lockett here.
QualitySouls Grown Deep Custom Prints offers custom reproductions of artworks by Souls Grown Deep artists. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
SelectionMany of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery.