Artist Highlights: Sheila Hicks

 

(Photo Courtesy http://www.icaphila.org/exhibitions/hicks.php)

The traveling exhibit, ‘Sheila Hicks: 50 Years’ is currently showing at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.  Shonquis Moreno begins her article, Warp Factor, in Wallpaper Magazine, saying this about the artist,  “there is a creative synaesthesia that marks American artist Sheila Hicks as a master: her tapestries are architecture, her architecture is sculpture, her sculptures are textiles, her textiles are paintings and her photographs are colour studies.”


(Photohttp://www.andover.edu/Museums/Addison/Exhibitions/Traveling/hicks/Pages/default.aspx)

(Photo Courtesy http://www.icaphila.org/exhibitions/hicks.php)

Sheila Hicks studied art at Yale and became interested in Peruvian textiles after taking a Latin American art history class.  Hicks studied painting from Josef Albers and he and his wife, Anni Albers, both encouraged Hicks’ interest in textile art.  It makes sense that the painter, who said of her own work,  “the number one decision is color, and that determines what happens,” (p. 68 Weaving as Metaphor) would be intrigued by weaving as another way to create compositions.  In 1957 she received a Fulbright and went to Chile to study weaving. Her work and process was greatly influenced by the Chilean artists she worked with.  Inspired by many different weaving techniques, color theory and architecture, Hicks played an important role in the transformation of textile art during the 1960’s.  Textile artists changed the dialogue and understanding of textiles as sculptural pieces in addition to two dimensional works.

(Photo Courtesy, Weaving as Metaphor)

I recently got a chance to look through the beautiful book, Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor. The book shows a variety of the 1000 miniature weavings Hicks has made on a small, handcrafted, portable loom.  These miniature pieces were not studies for bigger projects but each a necessary story.  Hicks made her first loom from stretcher bars and added nails on two sides to hold warp threads in place.  She then used thread and found materials to  “weave paintings.”  The hand held loom allowed her to transport projects easily and work within the rectangular parameters in non-traditional ways.  She often wrapped the warp threads or transformed a warp thread into a weft as a way to adapt the shape and effect of each piece.  In the introduction to the book Nina Stritzler-Levine states that Hicks, “ignores categorization, choosing whatever medium she wants to work with and frequently entering unmapped areas.”( p.18 Weaving as Metaphor) Below are some of her works shown in the book.

(Photo Courtesy, Weaving as Metaphor)

(Photo Courtesy, Weaving as Metaphor)

(Photo Courtesy http://monet.unk.edu/mona/contemp/hicks/chs2.html)

(photo Courtesy http://www.artnet.com/artwork/426027438/hastings.html)


(Photo Courtesy, Weaving as Metaphor)

If you live in the Philadelphia area see the list of  free events during the run of the show (March 24-August 7.)

The Institute of Contemporary Art is located at 118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 · 215 898-7108

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  1. Pingback: The Textile Arts Center – « Fibercopia

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