Faces of Peace
Raw paint scratched bare in places, piled high in others, parts like a curtain to reveal Ron Hicks’ delicate figures peering out through twirling wisps of off-white background, a blizzard of brushstrokes meant to evoke light and illumination. His figures, many of them women, ask for thoughtful consideration as their eyes lock with the viewer, or wander off the edge of the painting.
Hicks’ newest works are presented under the banner The Faces of Eve, which has a biblical inspiration, though not an overly religious guiding light. “I was reading the Bible and I was struck by this passage that deals with the Adam and Eve story, the apple and serpent and all that. If you read between the lines, Eve is sort of framed as though she ruined humanity. If she wouldn’t have done this, maybe things would have been different,” the Colorado artist says. “I feel like there’s a lot of correlation with issues that are going on today, particularly women. I wanted to go beyond the story and really go into this idea with works that were representational, abstract and also nonobjective. I wanted to create a harmonious dialogue.”
Although Hicks’ themes and motifs for the show are involved and rooted in a very specific idea, he’s trying to let viewers discover the works for themselves in their own way. “I want to keep it very open ended. I want people to ask themselves what it’s about and generate their own ideas,” he says. “Each painting can strike someone in a very personal or emotional way and that dialogue they share with themselves should shape the meaning of a painting.”
Works in the show include The Embrace II, which shows two figures locked in a tight clinch amid blocks of abstracted paint; Under the Acorn Tree, with a figure in a scarf that is merging with the background; and Yearning, in which a man and a woman are pulled together across a delicate arrangement of paint.
“I started out with colors like cadmium
yellow, cadmium reds, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue but also black, which is a wonderful color to work. I like having this desaturated and diffused look to my color. But I also have to be truthful; sometimes color is far less important than shape and value. The visual elements are really what I’m after,” Hicks says. “My colors tend to fall in line behind the idea of shape and value, which I use to establish a harmonious result… I like to think the work is very dimensional, meaning you can look at the painting and see the first brushstrokes along with the last brushstrokes on top. Some people cover the first ones up, but I like to be able to see it all.”
The Faces of Eve is being presented by Gallery 1261 in Denver, which will exhibit the show at a pop-up location—call the gallery for details. The exhibition is a preview to a museum show at Western Colorado Center for the Arts in Grand Junction.
Sage, oil on board, 12 x 12"
Yearning, oil on birch, 48 x 58"
The Embrace II, oil on board, 40 x 40"