THIS IS NO FANTASY is excited to present The Gazed, an exhibition of new photographic and video works by Petrina Hicks. This new series will be shown alongside Hicks’ most iconic works, spanning her fifteen year career. This exhibition coincides with Hicks’ solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. This major exhibition at the NGV reflects Hicks’ status as one of Australia’s most exciting artists.
Hicks’ sophisticated, hyper-real works are at once beautiful and disconcerting, combining heightened technical skill and elegant compositions with an unsettling ambiguity. Meticulously assembled and shot in her studio, her images exist within strangely placeless realities making them hard to pin down. Her practice both challenges and reflects the now.
Hicks’ works reflect her ongoing fascination with flawed or alternate beauty, probing narratives of female representation through art history, mythology and the media. She employs the seductive visual language of commerce and advertising to challenge and corrupt the premises of perfection they seek to promote. The images highlight the dichotomy between the surface aesthetic and their ambiguous, subversive subtext, engaging in debate about the capacity of the visual image to conjure, distract and mislead.
Snakes feature in Hicks’ new work, an age old symbol often associated with a female cosmic energy and representing the duality of life and death, medicine and poison. Her mesmerising video work is a meditative study of a python circulating a Greek vessel. Titled Ouroboros it references the ancient symbol of snake eating its own tail, exploring infinity and the cyclic nature of the cosmos and the transcendence of duality.
‘Myths, symbolism, archetypes and history have always been of interest. I am fascinated by the immediacy of symbols and longevity of myths, reinterpreted through lens of history and culture over and over again since origin. Depictions of objects and symbols that relate to the past reflect on our transition through history and show us how significantly we have, or have not, changed.’ (Petrina Hicks)
Hicks’ shoots on film using a large format camera, as a way to preserve the film medium and the integrity of the photographic image in today’s culture of digital image overload. Her carefully crafted scenes have a three dimensional quality, nudging photography closer to sculpture.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body