Nicola Hicks MBE
Born in London in 1960, Nicola Hicks studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art. After graduating in 1985, she immediately rose to critical acclaim. She has had her works exhibited at institutions such as the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven and in 2013 represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. She has been honoured with an MBE for her contribution to the visual arts.
Hicks often uses materials like straw and plaster in her sculptures. After they are cast in bronze they retain a viscous texture and rough finish, which give them the appearance of a rough sketch or drawing. The subjects of her works are normally animals, such as bulls, pigs, greyhounds and hares, or strange semi-mythical creatures. The subjects of the works often seem hurt or in distress, suggesting a dark or peculiar narrative. The artist has pointed to her feelings of empathy for her subjects, saying: ‘Sometimes I’m a tree, sometimes I’m a cat, sometimes I’m a minotaur, sometimes I’m a broken sculpture.’
‘Cow Says Moo’ (1994) depicts a cow which appears to have fallen or been pushed over. The title recalls a parent teaching their child animal noises. However, the child-like innocence of this phrase is undermined by the violence and pain in the cow’s pose.