It is said that humans at times convey animalistic traits based on certain emotions. We are creatures of complexity and British sculptor Nicola Hicks presented her series of work that explore this subject with her solo show at FLOWERS New York. AF attended the opening last November 16th then perused the textured and emotive three-dimensional wonders created by this artist.
Dressed for the Woods II (2013) presented three figures of a family but the tree-like texture makes it menacing as though they are woodland creatures. The outside armor that resemble like twigs or dripping foliage on the forms serve as protection. As one further examines the trio and its relativity to each other, therein lies the placid feeling of love and bond that keeps a family together. Parents are protective of their children as the exterior may suggest but underneath the ragged surface of complex relationships is real bonded love. Hicks fashioned figures that are imposing, so detailed, imperfect in its surface but evocative of the real emotion of the characters she sculpted. Banker II (2009) is at once self-explanatory with a bullish figure that hulks over with its presence. The bull is a creature represented in the world of finance as aggressive and a risk taker when it comes to money. The symbolic representation is there but Hicks captures the stance and posture of that kind of character. How we see it and what is really underneath it are dynamic contrasts that keeps her work on the edge but balanced. We are beset with feelings of apprehension with fascination, harshness with gentility, brashness with subtlety, and conflicts that keep your eye traveling all over its imperfect surfaces.
I am reminded again of this anecdote my fifth grade teacher once shared about a sculptor entertaining a rich collector at his studio. There in one side was a slab of marble and next to it a recently chiseled statue. The collector remarked that the statue was more perfect and beautiful. The sculptor wisely told him that what was beautiful was not perfect. He ran his hand all over the statue then showed him the nicks, cuts and scrapes to chisel away at the pure perfect slab of marble to create a thing of beauty. There was no way to create a masterpiece without scarring the perfect slab of marble. In a way, it’s like people. We are scarred and not perfect but it only whittles away the veneer of lies to render our real beauty. Scarred people are beautiful. Nicola Hicks proves the same thing with her sculptures. Her approximations of evoking emotions through her art are just spot on and sublime underneath it all.
Nicola Hicks / On View: November 16, 2013 – January 18, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am to 6 pm)
FLOWERS Gallery NYC. 529 West 20th Street, 3rd Floor. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Selected Art Images from FLOWERS Gallery courtesy of the artist
Photography by: Jamie Martinez