From his early years as a scenic artist, painting sets for films, theme parks and theatre, to his study years at the National Art School and College of Fine Art, Neil has established himself as a force in contemporary Australian Painting. With a loaded palette knife of impasto, Hicks paints tiered colour bands of sunset and breeze beyond naked trees. Indigenous references to the artist's heritage are subtly infused into texture and meaning; mottled backgrounds and cloaked layers insinuating a narrative beyond the immediately visual.
In the Modern tradition, Neil takes external stimuli and re-interprets them as intimate interiors. Alternately, Neil will take personal data and reconstruct them into objective landscapes. His attempts to reconcile his surroundings with a sense of identity lead the work into complex random form without crowding it with information.
The tactile finish lends the work a sense of immediacy despite the subtle suggestions of antiquity. The paintings bristle with a type of anxious inertia, allowing the eyes to scuttle across the activated surface.
Neil was a Finalist in this year’s Salon Des Refuses and was also invited to participate in the 2013 Tattersall’s Club Landscape Art Prize.
Recent Achievements include:
2012 Finalist - Salon Des Refuses
2008 Finalist - Paddington Art Prize, Sydney
2008 Finalist - Blake Prize, Sydney
2006 Finalist - Cromwell Art Prize, Sydney
2005 Finalist - Mosman Art Prize, Sydney
2003 Finalist - Waverly Art Prize, Sydney
2002 First Prize - Signature Art Prize, Gold Coast
2001 First Prize - Gold Coast Show, Gold Coast