Frank Locke

American Embroidery
ArtworkSpecial Projects

About the Artist

Frank Locke was born in Nashua, NH in 1987 and holds a B.F.A from the University of Maine. Influenced largely by feminist artists Lesley Dill, Kiki Smith, and Louise Bourgeois, and also arte povera artists Alighiero Boetti and Mike Kelly, Locke works primarily with found textiles, found imagery, and words. Locke’s work seeks to explore the stains left behind by casual utterances.

Artwork by Frank Locke

Special Projects and Exhibitions by Frank Locke

A Diary of Bodily Pain by Frank Locke
My work in fiber is a mirror of the life I have lead with my symptoms: it is a labor of extreme devotion and isolation. I seek with my fiber work to convey the depths of my emotional turmoil, not necessarily my specific pain, but the hopeless despair that things will never get better. I have clinically diagnosed IBD (irritable bowel disease) and PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). Between the two I have been in the ER twice, had surgery, shit myself in public, fought insurance companies to cover medications and procedures, tried some odd holistic remedies, worked with a team of doctors, etcetera, etcetera. I have had to take time off work to lay in bed on a rotation of opioids and ibuprofen with a heating pad and been told that there is nothing else to try, that I will only ever be in therapy level with drugs and managing my symptoms. And I do not want to underplay the role this has taken on my mental health. There is no getting better. There is no remission. There is only ever this. “A Diary of Bodily Pain” is just that, a record and catharsis of my experiences with chronic disease. My hope is that people will look at this work and treat themselves and others with compassion I have learned. My chosen media is textiles because of their innate history in the collected self conscious. Everyone has memories, emotions and opinions about the textiles that have touched our lives: blankets made by loved ones, lingeries worn for a lover, an outfit worn when we failed. By using these mundane found textiles, I imbibe them with narrative memories of the audience. When people look at my work and my words, I want them to feel it inside themselves, from their won perspective. Even they do not take the pieces to be about the specific feelings I have, I hope that it speaks to their private memories so that they may not they are not in an emotional wasteland. It is through feeling and acceptance that we may come out to the other side and compassion. Found poetry is an element in my art that I consider just as carefully, honestly probably more carefully, than other design elements like line, light, color and composition. The words in “A Diary of Bodily Pain” are with words from within me, isolated words from reading, or words I have overheard and plucked from the air. Traditionally I start with words and build out from there but with this body of work, I started with the feelings and looked for the words. Looking at this body of work I see clearly the influences of the artists I love: Lesley Dill, Algherio Boetti, Marissa Merz, Louise Bourgeious, and Francesca Woodman. But more than my vision influences, this work was inspired by my doctors: Dr Danya Reich, Dr Tamara Kolev, Dr Alexandra Weisman. These doctors listened to me. They believed me. They never told me it was my fault. They helped me live a life not dominated by bodily pain.