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    Arthur Wicks Artist Talk

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    Event description

    Arthur Wicks is a celebrated multimedia artist renowned for his work both in Australia and abroad. With a rich history of national and international exhibitions and performances, Wicks has showcased his diverse talents in prints, sculptures, video, installations, and live performances across Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Europe, including Germany, France, and Poland with over 170 solo or group shows. His work is held in collections including Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the National Gallery of Australia, the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and the Albury Art Gallery.

    Originally trained as a scientist, Wicks transitioned to art, driven by an enduring curiosity about the paradoxes of contemporary life, technology, globalisation, and the politics of the times. His artistic journey began in 1966 with his first exhibition in Canberra, marking the start of a prolific career.

    Wicks's artistic endeavours are multifaceted, encompassing various mediums and techniques. He is an accomplished printmaker, creating etchings, screenprints, and lithographs. As an artist, he paints, draws, and performs. His sculptural work often incorporates wood, and he is adept at digital photography and video production. Wicks's sculptures range from intricate machines to thought-provoking installations.

    In 2000, Wicks was awarded a New Media Arts Board Fellowship, allowing him to further develop and research a new series of sculptural machines. During this fellowship, he explored the concept of humanoid figures as substitutes for human performers. One notable work from this period is "The Boatman's Unscheduled Crossing" (2002), which combines distorted humour with commentary on the frailty of human endeavours, influenced by current scientific, political, and media practices.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, Wicks' focus shifted to global photomontages and digital recordings, culminating in his exploration of robotics and animatronics expertise in collaboration with leading institutions like the Centre for Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.

    Reflecting on his artistic journey, Wicks finds resonance with the existential themes of T.S. Eliot's "J. Alfred Prufrock" and Samuel Beckett's "Molloy." He contemplates mortality and the possibility of arresting the ageing process through the creation of humanoid figures, echoing themes of entropy and the quest for immortality.

    A key proponent of colour field painting in Australia, Arthur Wicks produced a vast reservoir of paintings, sculptures and screen prints as relational to the socio-political landscape of 60s Australia amidst the technological globalised age fraught with destabilisation and warfare. The combination of hard-edge abstraction with mechanical reproduction, Wicks produced a unique visual language which reflected the new aesthetics and politics of the time. Some of these works have now been unearthed and revived.  Several have not been exhibited for over 60 years.


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