Born in London in 1960, Nicola Hicks MBE is primarily a sculptor. Hicks studied at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1985. Hicks's first solo exhibition was at Angela Flowers Gallery, London in 1984. Hicks has since exhibited her works extensively in galleries around the world, including Flowers East, London, Art 28 '97 in Basel, Switzerland, Flowers West in California, U.S.A, the Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut, U.S.A. and Stephanie Burns Fine Art in Yarralumla, Australia. In 2017 Elephant published Keep Dark, a monograph of Hicks's works to accompany her large solo exhibitionWabbling Back to the fire, which featured essays by Will Self, Max Porter, Candia McWilliam and David Mamet.
Hicks has been commissioned to make several public sculptures, including a Monument to the Brown Dog in Battersea Park, a Beetle statue in Bristol and the Statue of Knights of the Templar in London. In 1995, Hicks was awarded an MBE for her contribution to the visual arts. Hicks's work is held in numerous public collections, including the Yale Centre for British Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Tate and the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. Hicks's Self-Portrait II (2013) was acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection in 2015.
Hicks is best known for her sculptures. Her body of work revolves around a world of anthropomorphic, heroic animals. Hicks typically creates her sculptures in plaster before casting them in bronze, which lends her works a simultaneous grandeur and vulnerability. Alongside her sculptures, Hicks creates drawings using charcoal, two practices which come together in her installation reimagining a scene from The Decameron, She tied a string to her toe (2020), in which the her charcoal drawing acts as the looming shadow of the sculpted narrative beneath it. Whether she is sculpting or drawing, Hicks's works are deeply attuned to the anatomy of living things without being strictly realistic. Instead, Hicks uses the real as an entry-point through which to cultivate a viscerally mythic sensibility.
Hicks’s self-portrait is drawn in pastel on paper. Self-Portrait II captures the artist’s disembodied head emerging from the absence of the page, showing her great affinity for the anatomy of living forms through her soft blended application of colour.