Ron Hicks: Esoteric Meanderings
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7, 6-8 pm.
On view through September 28, 2019.
Ron Hicks’ latest solo exhibition “Esoteric Meanderings” is a continuation to Hicks’ previous show, “Faces of Eve”. The artist’s goal for this most recent body of work was to strike an emotional response in the spectator, as well as to serve as a conduit to open dialogue.
Ron Hick's works have been characterized as a blend of representational art and impressionism. Some critics have compared them to paintings by Rembrandt and Daumier. The 40-year old artist translates his own moody visions with a muted palette and rarely uses pure color. He particularly favors the variety he finds in gray. "Gray allows me to capture atmosphere, mood, and layers of emotion," he says. "Gray sets the tone for the rest of the painting."
Hicks blends abstraction with realism, an honest evolution that may seem, to those familiar with his work from the past years, as a departure. It is not. This work represents years thinking through the process of painting, moving from craftsman rendering what was in front of him to the sublime artist open and secure in his ability to take all he’s learned and allow his emotions to guide the way. Where his work had explored themes of human connection through a direct approach to painting the figure, now clear ideas of what his subjects are thinking are obfuscated by abstraction in brushwork and color, and even with the application of torn canvas, recycled from past works destroyed in order to create spaces for these new works to emerge. The resulting paintings are far deeper, introspective and searching, and at the same time, outwardly involved in contemporary issues of our time, embracing perspectives that leave the viewer with more questions than answers.
Hicks shares a profound discovery he has recently made, “I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a presenter of dialogue. In short, my role is to present imagery for one to take in, allowing the viewer to respond with as little interference from me as possible.” Each artist hopes that viewers find a way to engage with their work. Some guide that engagement, others give the viewer free reign.
Hicks feels that it’s not his place to tell or guide anyone’s response to his artwork emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Instead, he chooses to present and utilize visual elements he has experimented with for most of his life, coupled with his emotional responses to a number of his present and past experiences and see what naturally unfolds.
“Good or bad, my personal responses seem to slowly but subtly seep into my work whether I’m conscious of it or not. My goal is to seek harmony amongst these ideas, touching on various themes ranging from emotional connections to social issues.”
The idea of Esoteric Meandering came to light after looking back at work in his most recent past explorations and examining how those inform his current path. Shortly after naming the exhibition, Hicks decided to take a gander at many of the dictionary definitions of the word esoteric. “I came across a passage that I found very interesting: it reads as follows, ‘Esoteric – having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application’”. Careful not to influence the viewer too much with his explanation, Ron shares that this definition best describes what he is after.
In short, Hicks’ intention is for the viewer to internalize visual stimuli as experienced through his paintings, and for those to serve as a conduit to dialogue. “We live in this world where everything must be defined, put in a box and contained for easy consumption. I hope to tap into that side where the viewer is provided with just enough information to strike up a conversation, but not to the point of drawing a final conclusion. In other words, through my use of texture, abstract passages and emotive movements, the viewer is free to derive his or her own inference.”
Ultimately, Ron would like to make paintings that are more for emotional consumption rather than technical beauty or anything superficial. “I’d like them to go straight to the heart.”
Rock Hicks is a Colorado based artist and has been professionally exhibiting since 1994. He attended the Art Institute of Colorado, as well as the Columbus College of Art and Design. Ron’s work has appeared in numerous prestigious publications including American Art Collector, Western Art & Architecture, American Artist, Art in America, and Southwest Art. He has exhibited nationally and has work in numerous private and corporate collections.