Exhibition: 12 - 26 May 2015
Preview: Tuesday 12th May 5:30 PM
Jason Hicks has been represented by Parnell Gallery since 1998 where they held regular shows over the ensuing decade. Jason’s paintings have engendered a keen following, and with the upcoming exhibition being his first solo show since 2007, the new developments in his unique style are eagerly anticipated.
Jason’s work captures the affinity we as New Zealanders have with the birds and the land. His paintings evoke nostalgia for a more innocent past whilst challenging the viewer to contemplate what the future may hold. His work explores identity, time and place, using our native birds as a vehicle to convey these ideas. The new show offers a deepening exploration of these themes, with the birds becoming increasingly defined in character.
In ‘Manaia’ our native ruru (morepork) confidently takes it’s place within the picture frame to grace the artist’s narrative. Manaia are traditionally believed to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits, and guard against evil. The ethereal effect created by the layered media in the piece enhances this reference, and is juxtaposed with text referencing the iconographic Victorian tome, Buller’s Birds of New Zealand.
Jason’s work is vastly rich in texture yet harmonious, comprising layers of loose underdrawing, more formally worked areas of overpainting, and incorporating text, Maori iconography and robust colour to his visual inquiry. The combined effect is enhanced by the materials he works on, with recycled timbers often providing a fitting foil to the captivating imagery, as with ‘Kingfisher and Friend’.
“In each layer a level of meaning can be scratched away, revealing home truths…”
With each show, the artist further finds his contemporary niche within the rich tradition of bird and landscape painting in this country.