“Jim James is Quoted as Having Said, ‘Black Beans and Lice is Usually a Spelling Error, Not a Menu Item'”
Pencil and Neocolor, 2015


Untold Portraits and Profoundly Untrue Statements: New Work by Bob Lockhart

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2015 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved

After an extensive retrospective in late 2014, viewers should feel familiar with the life’s work of artist Bob Lockhart, but new drawing currently on exhibit at Revelry Gallery catch the artist in a moment of (small) transition.

Lockhart’s most recent work has been largely focused on drawings that are densely layered in theme and medium; a meticulous buildup of colored pencil weaving complex backgrounds behind off-kilter portraits of fictional characters. The new pieces found at Revelry represent a departure in that the subjects are living and breathing people, one or two with whom the artist is personally acquainted, but most of which are celebrities. To be clear, many of these, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln for example, are consistent with the most recent work from Lockhart’s show one year ago at PYRO Gallery, but on the wall alongside these we discover something fresher, looser.


“Hunter S. Thompson Has Noted, in Physical Education He Learned to Search Out Many Crevices.” Pencil & Neocolor, 2015

The complex geometric constructions begin to give way to simpler, more open compositions. The patterns aren’t entirely absent; they have been organized into more regimented grid-like arrangements resembling checkerboards or woven textiles. It feels as if Lockhart is exploding his own technique a bit and taking a lighter approach in his mark making.

Of course, he has been taking a lighter approach to his themes for quite some time, and is famous for his lengthy absurdist titles, replaced here by apocryphal quotes from the subjects. We don’t easily imagine that My Morning Jacket singer Jim James actually said, “Black Beans and Lice is Usually a Spelling Error, Not a Menu Item,” but the joke is entirely characteristic of what curator Peter Morrin termed Lockhart’s “sardonic sense of humor,” that he undercut the idea of affe

The artist’s choice of subjects reflect the presumed restlessness at work here, in that a regal, leonine Jim James is found in residence with a blue-face Rembrandt, the former in heroic posture while the latter is presented with irony; Johnny Depp is fairly locked within the Baroque detail of Lockhart’s signature style, while Depp’s hero and fellow Kentuckian Hunter S. Thompson rests free and easy within his frame.

These portraits, as rich as they may be, are a brief rest stop in the continuing development of one the region’s most important artists; but what exactly they foreshadow remains to be seen.

Untold Portraits and Profoundly Untrue Statements: New Work by Bob Lockhart

May 29-July 9, 2015

Open 7 days a week

Revelry Boutique & Gallery
742 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202


Keith[box_light]Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.[/box_light]