JACK HICKS

19 June – 19 July 2020

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Kingston Blacks
Pigmented brush-pens and fine-line pens on paper, homemade frame 
21x29cm / 2020

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Prospect Tower
Pigmented brush-pens and fine-line pens on paper, homemade frame 
21x29cm / 2020

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Demolition

Pigmented brush-pens and fine-line pens on paper, homemade frame 
21x29cm / 2020

Text by Jack Hicks

 

I draw nearly every day - the time depends on what kind of drawing I’m doing. Drawing outside takes place during the day of course, but I also draw in the evenings. I draw wherever I go. Most of my drawing is done outdoors, but I also draw in the studio and at the kitchen table or wherever I happen to be.

Much of my drawing is observational and analytical, and I use traditional techniques that have been around since the Renaissance - I still find that kind of visual enquiry thrilling. I draw quite slowly, and typically a drawing will take between one and two-and-a-half hours as I try to understand several aspects of what I am looking at. I use fine-line pens and brush-pens a lot of the time, but also pencil, oil pastels, chalk and charcoal, depending on what seems most appropriate for a given subject. I also make larger or more experimental studio drawings in a range of media, which are informed but not constrained by my observational drawings.

I’ll draw anything I can see, but the subject I engage with most is landscape, rural or urban, which I try to portray in an unsentimental way. Often I will look for interactions between the natural and the artificial, or for evidence of change and human intervention in the environment. I’m also looking for interesting and unusual shapes, textures, contrasts and compositions. Often I will draw anything that catches my eye, just for the sake of drawing rather than any wider intention.

I draw because I need to - it is my way of engaging with the world and forming a relationship with things. It is meditation, enquiry, analysis, imaginative response and a feeling of freedom. On a practical level, I draw also to gather material that I can develop into paintings in the studio, so my sketchbooks are also an inventory of shapes, images, etc. which directly or indirectly feed into the more open-ended process of painting.

One of the biggest influences has been my son, Rae Hicks. Seeing his development as an artist from his earliest days has been an inspiration. There is a host of other artists who haunt my imagination as I work; most significant among these are: Picasso, for his endless invention and daring; Sutherland, for his imaginative re-creation of a specific landscape; Constable, for his marvellous oil sketches; Lanyon, for his painterly freedom and energy; and Morandi, for his quiet, revolutionary approach to representation.