Petrina Hicks BLEACHED GOTHIC - Press Release from the National Gallery of Victoria - Michael Reid

Petrina Hicks BLEACHED GOTHIC – Press Release from the National Gallery of Victoria

Michael Reid Gallery is thrilled to share the following press release from the National Gallery of Victoria in regards to BLEACHED GOTHIC, Petrina Hicks’ major survey exhibition at the NGV.


Shenae and Jade, 2005


Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic is the first major survey exhibition of Bowness Prize-winning 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 a style that has remained remarkably consistent and distinctive throughout her career.

Hick’s photographs are notable for their duality; pristine and benign at first glance, the works are undercut with a sense of the uncanny and surreal. 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 but avoid easy interpretation.

Petrina Hicks: Bleached Gothic will include more than fifty photographs and video works spanning the period 2003 to 2019, including works produced specifically for the exhibition. Seen together for the first time, Hick’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.

A monograph, published by the NGV, will be released to coincide with the exhibition, detailing the artist’s work to date.

cover image by Tom Ross