Stainless steel, 250 x 550 x 580 centimetres
Ralph Hicks likes to create what he calls "figures with attitudes." In Salutation, an attitude of respectful courtesy is conveyed through a human form reduced to suggestive rectilinear shapes, bowing its head to passing travellers. Hicks tells us very little about his model, providing no indication of race, class or even sex. But, he also asks little in return, extending the gesture of salutation indiscriminately to any and every potential friend that might pass by. The simple cuboid, favoured by Hicks for its "immediate and striking" appearance, is the only shape required to give life to Salutation's purely positive greeting.
Hicks' original conception called for a group of five figures like Salutation but each standing 30 feet tall. If Toronto had been chosen to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, each of these figures was to be placed at one of the city's five major entranceways.
About Ralph Hicks
Ralph Hicks was born in London, England, in 1941. He is a graduate of both the University of Bristol and Harvard Business School. He moved to Toronto in 1967 to pursue a career in marketing, general management and strategy consulting for multinational consumer product companies. He first developed an interest in sculpture, while still a student, after seeing large-scale bronzes by Rodin, Lachaise and Matisse at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. However, this interest was largely suppressed while he made his career in business. Not until 1996, when he put the cart before the horse by building himself a studio in Mulmur Hills, Ontario, did Hicks begin actively channelling his love for sculpture into artwork of his own. Since then, he has been busy creating figures of various shapes and sizes, some realistic, some geometric and some free form but all of them conveying their own personal "attitude," as Hicks terms it. His technique is mostly self-taught, with no formal sculpture training beyond a few evening classes. He currently has pieces on display in various private collections throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.