Nicola Hicks, Flowers Gallery, New York

Nicola Hicks, Flowers Gallery, New York

The animalistic and savage creatures of MBE award-winning sculptor, Nicola Hicks (b.1960), find their home at Flowers Gallery, New York, until 1 February. Full of a quiet expression, these towering straw and plaster figures set out to explore the nature of character, using the animal as a proxy for understanding human emotions.

Intricately detailed and marked by a thrilling spontaneity, these works make a rigorous study of anatomy and a deatailed rendering of fur, reveling in the challenge of recreating the real through rugged textures and precise forms. Colossal in size and uncannily alive in appearance, Hicks imbues her creatures with an imposing psychic presence.

In the first of a three-part sculpture, Dressed for the Woods II (2013), a bear sits at the feet of two figures draped in furs, their shaggy coats recreated with striking verisimilitude in plaster. Exploring the dynamics between characters as well as the qualities of greed and corruption, this social critique and moral warning echoes her earlier works that also form part of this exhibition. Hypocrites (2011), depicting a pair of creatures locked in a battle of stares and Banker I (2009), of a mammoth, devilish figure that bridges the gap between the savage and the modern man, form particular highlights.

Creating a fable-like wonder tinged with the realities of contemporary life, this collection of creatures forces into question the nature of love and complex human interaction through painstaking detail and a real determination to animate in the imagination the inanimate.

Nicola Hicks, until 1 February, Flowers Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, New York.

1. Nicola Hicks, Dressed for the Woods II (detail), 2013, plaster (to be cast in bronze), edition 3, 79 x 71 x 71 in. Flowers Gallery.