Nicola Hicks (born 1960 in London) is an English sculptor, known for her works made using straw and plaster.
Hicks studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1978 to 1982 and at the Royal College of Art from 1982 to 1985.
Animals are Hicks’ primary subject matter, usually sculpted in straw and plaster. This was unusual for an artist in the 1980s, by which time abstract sculpture and installation art had become the norm in the art world. Hicks also works on huge sheets of brown paper on which she works up her dynamic charcoal drawings. Many of the sculptures have subsequently been cast in bronze, often with such subtlety that every detail of plaster and straw is reproduced.
Hicks was recognized by Elisabeth Frink, who selected her for a solo exhibition at Angela Flowers Gallery in 1985.
To accompany an exhibition at Flowers Gallery in 1993, Robert Heller said:
“The only thing precocious about that one-day show was the artist’s age: she was only 24. But the work had a maturity of concept and sureness of execution that defied precocity. The life-sized dying bull of straw and hessian, in particular, was a terrifying work, whose physical frailty contrasted with its colossal psychic presence. The Gallery quickly invited Hicks to join its permanent family of artists, and her first one-person show followed in 1985. Such discovery of new talent for the Gallery was a welcome by product of the annual Artist of the Day fortnight. Hicks was by no means unrecognized, though. She was still a student at the Royal College of Art (having got her degree at Chelsea), but had already featured in mixed exhibitions at locales ranging from Christies to Liverpool via Ruskin College. In 1985, however, her career blossomed. In addition to the Flowers show, her work was exhibited in Kettle’s Yard, the Hayward Annual, New York, Serpentine, etc.”
Hicks has achieved success as an artist, creating public sculptures such as Beetle in Bristol and the second iteration of the Brown Dog Memorial in Battersea Park. She has had major solo shows in leading museums and galleries in Britain and around the world, and was made an MBE in the 1995 New Year Honors for her contribution to the visual arts. In 2010 Hicks exhibited Black, 2008 in ‘Exhibitionism’ at the East Wing, Courtauld Institute of Art at Somerset House.