Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic is the first major survey exhibition of photographer Petrina Hicks. Over her fifteen-year career, Hicks (1972– ) has gained a strong reputation for her large-scale, hyperreal photographs that subvert and disrupt the photographic language of advertising and portraiture. Hicks photographs children, animals and young women against simple backgrounds, returning to the same models and motifs frequently to define and hone her distinctive style.
Hicks’s photographs are notable for their duality; pristine and benign at first glance, the works are undercut with a sense of the uncanny. The tension between seduction and danger, familiarity and strangeness, intimacy and distance are present in many of Hicks’s works, which are rich with mythological and historical symbolism.
Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic includes more than fifty photographs and video works spanning the period 2003 to 2019. Seen together for the first time, Hicks’s shimmering, enigmatic and surreal compositions convey the inherent ambiguity and complexity of the female experience. At a time when issues of gender and representation are more culturally relevant than ever before, Hicks’s photographs interrogate the cultural and visual representation of women and children in contemporary society and throughout history.
The NGV is publishing a monograph to coincide with the exhibition, detailing the artist’s work to date.