Australian Embassy, Paris: Gothique Blanc

Petrina Hicks

24 Jun - 24 Sep 2021

Gothique Blanc, Petrina Hicks’ first international survey show is being exhibited at the Australian Embassy in Paris. The exhibition includes works spanning her fifteen year career and follows her acclaimed mid-career survey at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Hicks has gained a strong reputation for her large-scale, hyperreal photographs that subvert and disrupt the photographic language of portraiture. Hicks photographs children, animals, and young women against simple backgrounds, returning to the same models and motifs frequently to define and hone her distinctive style. Hicks’s photographs are notable for their duality; pristine and benign at first glance, the works are undercut with a sense of the uncanny and surreal. The tension between seduction and danger, familiarity and strangeness, intimacy and distance are present in many of Hicks’s works, which are rich with mythological and historical symbolism.

Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic brings together works made between 2003 and 2019. Seen together, Hicks’ shimmering, enigmatic and surreal compositions convey the inherent ambiguity and complexity of the female experience. At a time when issues of gender and representation are more culturally relevant than ever before, Hicks’s photographs interrogate the cultural and visual representation of women and children in contemporary society and throughout history.