Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present Sheila Hicks’s inaugural solo exhibition at the gallery, on view from April 20 through May 25, 2012.
With a career that spans five decades, Hicks’s work traverses the boundaries between painting and sculpture, design, craft and even architecture with the use of woven forms. Challenging the hierarchical classification of textiles as a more artisanal design-based medium, Hicks combines her early training in painting, the interaction of color with Josef Albers, and art history with George Kubler, with an expert understanding of the craft of weaving and tapestry-making.
The exhibition includes a range of work from Hicks’s earliest pieces dating from 1958 and composed of both natural fibers and found materials – such as shirt collars, leather shoelaces, and rubber bands – to new works of colorful linen stalks, wrapped cotton cords, and steel fibers. She transforms these materials into discrete two-dimensional objects, as well as large wall-mounted, free-standing, and suspended sculptures.
From sculptures such as Beauvais (2012) – a monumental work of coral, sepia, chrome and cadmium yellow linen stalks that is suspended like a waterfall – to her “minimes” – framed woven miniatures made throughout her career – Hicks employs color and line as an abstract visual language. Her mastery of her chosen media – from various fabrics to more unusual materials like feathers, porcupine quills, and bamboo – projects a tactile quality that elicits an almost physical connection with the viewer. For example, Menhir (1998-2004), is a looming presence. The human-like form standing over five feet high is comprised of twisted linen cord – gathered and wrapped by foot long segments of rich blue, purple, gray and brown stainless steel fibers – that falls like human hair to its base.
Having traveled and worked throughout the world, Hicks has cultivated a sensitivity to color and texture through careful observation of her surroundings, examination of materials and weaving techniques. Titles like Quipi Study, Isadora, Tipped, Demenageur, Mozambique, and Loosely Speaking, provide insights not only into the construction of the work but also the artist’s whereabouts over time.
Born in Hastings, Nebraska in 1934, Sheila Hicks has lived and worked in Paris since 1964. Hicks’s work has been exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Her recent retrospective Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, organized by the Addison Gallery, Andover, MA, traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, and was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published by the Addison Gallery of American Art and Yale University Press. An exhibition of her minimes entitled Cent Minimes was shown at U(P)M Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and traveled to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in late 2011 to early 2012. She will be included in the 30th São Paulo Biennial curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas, Tobi Maier, André Severo, and Isabela Villaneuva opening in September 2012. Her works are represented in the permanent collections of museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; The Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.