Wet & Dry
22 April - 2 May
Hicks' exhibition Wet & Dry, consists of two series, Ghosts of Warming and
Moon Pool. Despite being visually different in their aesthetic and style, these two series are unified by their exploration of the beauty and power of nature and the land.
Hicks is an intrepid traveller and has been engaged by Parks Victoria and National Geographic to lead expeditions into pristine and uncharted Australian environments. These experiences have made a significant impact on his artistic practice and the confluence of natural elements - light, form and space - remain recurring themes explored in his work.
Indeed, this forms the basis for the paintings featured in this exhibition and deliberately evoke a stark contrast for the audience; Nature peacefully relaxed and nature at risk. In a way they both deal with the ever-present reality of life dependant on water.
Friday 23 April - Sunday 2 May
Open daily 10-4pm
Gibson's, Level 1, 885-889 High Street
Armadale, Victoria 3143
Ghosts of Warming Series
Hicks’s concern for the natural landscape is a result of having years of experience working for ANZSES and other contingencies managing various research expeditions to outback remote desert regions of Australia for Museums, Universities, National Parks and AEGIS.
His parents had a farm in the famous Brolga lagoons near Tungamah, Victoria and the Murray River where he spent his youth and later years madly exploring the wetlands. His family since have donated those grounds back to the Nation. His decades of excursions, camping at Kooba Station and its adjacent State Park on the Murrumbidgee River with its swamps and lagoons, led to his book Everflowing and the creation of landscape artworks.
Over time his involvement in the bush has developed into a concern for the plight of Australia’s drying inland regions. Repeated treks and studies with scientists have
served to highlight the severe diminishing effect of prolonged drought on all our inland natural environment. “There are ancient interdependent elements combining all of our natural Australian environments, its animals, birds, plants, insects, reptiles, bats and soils are sadly being depleted and eroded”, explains Hicks.
Acidic lagoons and salt encrusted surfaces reflected in his artworks remind us of the fragility of our natural landscape and the effect of increased global warming. These works evoke a presence of caution; of landforms struggling with deterioration and yet, are fascinating in their aesthetic appeal.
Moon Pool Series
In the Moon Pool Series, Hicks has built a calm sense of contemplative forms. These landscapes provide places of seclusion and gentle ambience and intertwine natural elements: moonlit waterfalls, trees and stepping-stones suggest an intimate mystery.
Each painting provides the viewer with an overwhelming feeling of calm. Hicks has spent extended periods living in a temple in Kyoto, Japan, and the influence of this period and meditative reflections are evident in this body of work. There are also clear references to the tradition of Japanese woodblock prints and his treatment of surface and the subtle tonality of paint.
In a final tribute to Japanese culture, the Moon Pool Series also incorporates aspects of Haiku structure, which traditionally evokes images of the natural world and is written in three lines of five, seven and five. Hicks pays homage to this through the balanced and harmonious placement and number of objects within each work and the emphasis on beauty and nature expressed through subject and form.