The Beginning

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Found tin and nails on wood
42 x 47 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

The Beginning, undertaken in 1993 at the outset of Lockett’s metal works, incorporates elements from earlier painted and mixed-media series including Smoke-Filled Sky and Traps. Here the deer is created as a negative image in the form of a metal cutout. Crumpled metal buckles around the animal, lending the figured depth. The shape and physical attitude of the buck echoes other works, including an untitled Traps work. Additional metal shapes nailed to the surface of the work cut from weathered metal siding give the animal a suggestion of modeled musculature. The lower right contains the abstraction of a house with smoke and flame rising from the roof, evoking the burning buildings of Smoke-Filled Sky. A massive tree with broad trunk and crown occupies the lower left corner. The tree brings together the family tree, the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life, speaking in one gesture to both Lockett’s sense of rootedness and to the vital role that Sarah Dial Lockett played in communicating genealogy, faith, and understanding. A hill looming behind the tree and burning house rises beneath the buck’s feet. Thus, The Beginning links themes ranging across a number of works in a vivid and subtle synthetic composition that combines Lockett’s engagement with his narrative interests, his family and its history, his own identity, and the larger struggle for survival in a hostile world.