Armada, 2019. Mixed media, approx. 45 boat sculptures, 34–162 cm. long. Photo: Stuart Whipps, Courtesy Ikon Gallery, UK

Mindful Vandalism: A Conversation with Hew Locke

Hew Locke is a self-confessed “maximalist.” His sculptures, installations, drawings, and photographs overflow with miscellanea, their materials ranging from plastic toys and beads to brass etchings and golden filigree. This physical profusion mirrors an abundance of thematic references—voodoo, slavery, migration, colonialism, globalization, media voyeurism, and corporate greed, to name a few. Cliché and legend, ritual and religion, past and present collide in a heady mishmash. Locke is perhaps best known for his teeming reliefs of Queen Elizabeth II, recognizable only by her iconic silhouette. In recent years, he has turned to ready-made porcelain busts of royal figures, lavishly decorated with military insignia, jewelry, foliage, fake hair, and skulls . . .

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