David Hicks - November 2008
November 21st, 2008 - January 3, 2009
Emerging California artist David Hicks’ ceramic wall installations are compelling and original. His work hovers in air, between the natural and the artificial - the imagery is hard to pin down. His clay surfaces contrast the organic raw and tactile with the machined polish, pairing his rough hand formed terracotta objects with industrial steel cable. In the most recent piece, the artist glazes slip cast elements in highly reflective bronze lusters, then suspends them with a natural fiber twine. Meticulously executed, Hicks creates installations of layered units of enigmatic origin. At times the units seem seedpod like and other times like fishermen’s sinkers or encrusted floating buoys. The viewer gets drawn in with glimpses of a Corsican butcher shop window, then sees hanging anatomy morphing into factory made stacks of unfamiliar vessels. Hicks studies the moment of transition from one state to another - he is interested in the potential of the seed not yet mature and the decaying fruit, beyond ripe, about to drop. Each element is like a stilled pendulum caught in the moment between swings. The fragility of the unsupported material adds to the tension.
The units hang under the horizontal frame of the support structure, giving the composition a visual grounding equal to the physics of the gravity it employs. Hicks likens his use of the straight border to the Dutch Master’s still life paintings whose frames contain such an abundance of subjects for the painter to demonstrate his painting virtuosity. The artists packed in every challenging texture - glass, flowers, silver, fruit, insects, droplets, filling the window and rendering the physical, transient world in paint. Hicks fills his compositions with similar copiousness and texture, achieving the same kind of focused energy and demonstrating a contemporary form of virtuosity. He carves order and balance out of the chaos by literally balancing his suspended collection of un-knowable objects.
The gallery will show four separate wall pieces exploring these themes in different clay bodies, glazes and with various suspended units. A graduate of Alfred, Hick’s was awarded a prize at the 2007 World Ceramic Biennale in Icheon, Korea and his work purchased for the World Ceramic Center Museum’s permanent Collection. We are pleased to introduce this young talented artist to the Washington community.