Roland Hicks: The Gathering Things at Eleven
Just across the road from Victoria, in an unassuming space on Eccleston Street, Roland Hicks has pulled a collection of quietly eclectic everyday objects into sharp focus in an exhibition entitled The Gathering Things. Standing with friends and strangers in the tiny, ascetic Eleven gallery, Hicks cuts a neatly trimmed, urbane figure whose latest exhibition marks a turning point in his practice as an artist. Chatting with him, you don’t sense the turmoil of an artist in transition, though it’s easy to spot the source of the frenetic, slightly obsessive quality that suffuses this colourful collection of paintings and hand-made curios.
The Gathering Things are sculptures of fantasies crafted out of everyday objects like blu-tack and pencil shavings, carefully studied and recreated from modelling clay and paint. The bright colours and intricate details of art masquerading as mundane stationary objects create a playfulness that balances the pathos underpinning these scenes of microscopic, frenetic violence and quiet office-bound panic. Thumb-tacks stabbed into anthropomorphic wads of stretchy blue connective tissue dangling in space, suspended on spindly bits of string and magnified by Hicks’ painterly eye fill canvases hanging here and there, punctuating the assemblage of other pieces. There is pathos to the work, but there is also a childlike optimism – a sense of discovery, of the ridiculous, of play.
These are things we are surrounded with every day: paperclips, rubber bands, and sellotape, transformed by Hicks into works of art. “They’re important,” he says, “humble, but also of course arrogant, to say that it’s because of my artistic choice” (that they’re elevated). But this gathering represents a major step for Hicks, whose previous showings have all been solely of paintings. The exploration involved in trying to do something new, transferring skills and finding a new voice has had a profound effect on him – he admits he “probably wouldn’t just show paintings again” . At the moment he has numerous works in progress, dotted around his studio like islands waiting to be discovered.
The Gathering Things is a fun exhibition, not huge in its scope; the display fills just two small rooms a stone’s throw away from Victoria Station. The gallery is run by friendly and enthusiastic staff, the crowd diverse and chilled out. Definitely worth a look, this exhibition winks at the viewer, coaxing out the forgotten child within. Check it out if you have the chance.
Roland Hicks: The Gathering Things is at Eleven until 23rd March 2013. For further information visit here.