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THE SHADOWS
Petrina Hicks, Venus from The Shadows, 2013, pigment print, 100 x 100cm, edition of 8

Petrina Hicks »

THE SHADOWS

Exhibition: – 5 Oct 2013

Sat 14 Sep 14:00

Stills Gallery

36 Gosbell Street . Paddington
NSW 2021 Sydney

+61 2-93317775


www.stillsgallery.com.au

Wed-Sat 11-17

THE SHADOWS
Petrina Hicks, New Age from The Shadows, 2013, pigment print, 100 x 100cm, edition of 8

PETRINA HICKS
THE SHADOWS


Exhibition: 4 September to 5 October 2013
Artist talk: Saturday 14 September 2pm

Rather than using her camera to capture an image of the world, Petrina Hicks creates a world for her camera. Within her studio, she assembles sculptural forms with a meticulous eye for detail - the shape of a vase, the fall of fabric, the pinkness of a shell. Her subjects, whether people or objects, are loaded with symbolism and exist within a strangely placeless reality, making them hard to pin down. In her recent profile on Petrina Hicks’ writer Carrie Miller describes this process as one of ‘seductive subversion’, combining heightened technical skill and elegant compositions with an unsettling ambiguity.

In The Shadows Hicks continues to seduce and subvert. She draws attention to habitual ways of thinking and depicting in our culture, past and present. A particular focus for Hicks is the depiction women. In Venus, for instance, a model obscures her face with an enormous and elaborate shell. This imagery recalls Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in which the feminine embodiment of sex, beauty and enticement, emerges from a seashell. But in Hicks’ Venus, the shell literally overwhelms the subject, a wry comment on the sexual symbolism commonly associated with women in consumer image culture. In New Age a lump of quartz rests on the groin of a classically posed nude who reclines against richly coloured drapes. Where the symbolism of a crystal, associated in New Age philosophy with power, energy and clarity, meets another in the form of a classical nude, our reading of both is disturbed and distorted. Quietly heightening this disjuncture is a slight bruise on the model’s white thigh that brings us out of the classics and into the present, out of perfection and into reality.

THE SHADOWS
Petrina Hicks, Greyscale (detail), 2013, suite of 5 pigment prints, edition of 8 +1AP, Two Vases, 32 x 34cm

The five newest works comprising Greyscale are a mix of portraiture and still-life. Set against a neutral photographic grey, Hicks presents her subjects as a set of archetypes or perfect forms familiar throughout the history of art. The colour palette in the works – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) point to the history of the photograph, especially as a printed object, rather than a screen-based experience. The layering of draped fabric, of figures, vases and fruit within and between the images creates a three dimensional effect, emphasising Hicks’ belief in photography as a material, solid form. The subjects exist somewhere between ‘being’ and ‘object’.

Petrina Hicks has exhibited her work widely through both solo and groups shows in Australia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, USA, UK, Japan, China, Mexico and Brazil. Recently, her work was selected for the 17th International Videobrasil in Brazil and the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China. In 2013 her video work The Chrysallis was included in the inaugral Guirguis New Art Prize. Petrina's works belong to various public and private collections including: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria and Artbank. She has been awarded various notable prizes and residencies including the Josephine Ulrick Photography Award for Portraiture, ABN Emerging Artist Award (2008), La Cité, Paris Residency and an eight-month Fellowship with Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany.

THE SHADOWS
Petrina Hicks, Greyscale (detail), 2013, suite of 5 pigment prints, edition of 8 +1AP, Ego, 32 x 34cm