Richard Hickam was born in Los Angeles in 1944. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1966 and his MFA from the University of New Mexico in 1968. He taught at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI in 1968, and the Columbus College of Art from 1969-73. His work has been exhibited at museums such as the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and Boston University College of Fine Arts, as well as galleries across the United States, including thirteen solo shows at Allan Stone Gallery. His work has been reviewed and reproduced in Art in America, Artforum, The New York Times, Artnews, Fortune Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. Hickam lives and works in Elyria, OH.
Hickam's paintings reveal a dedication to gestural abstraction with an emphasis on emotional confrontation. His paintings of provocative characters illustrate the artist's penchant for raw figuration that is fundamental to his visual vocabulary. Originally interested in photorealism, Hickam pursued a looser approach to figuration in the 1980s. Hickam also produced a series of non-objective abstractions in the mid-1990s. The clashing planes, stripes and patterns synthesize his earlier photorealist drapes and wallpaper with an expressive gestural impasto. In the mid-90s, the spatial implications of these pure abstractions transitioned Hickam back to imagery and subject matter through an atmospheric group of interiors and landscapes. Since the late 1990s, increasingly visceral and expressive figuration and still life have dominated his practice. Influences of Fauvist Matisse as well as the loose angularity of early Diebenkorn are apparent in this period. Harkening to historical painters such as Chaim Soutine and Francis Bacon, and foreshadowing contemporary artists such as Dana Schutz or George Condo, Hickam reconciles feelings of detachment with a sense of compulsion in his evocative paintings.