Sheila Hicks (American, born 1934) has been working supple and pliable materials for over sixty years. Known for pushing perceptions of art beyond traditional associations, the artist uses fiber to create sculptures and objects that give material form to color.
Hicks began to explore the vast range of tactile and tension structures, along with painting and color theory, under the guidance of the faculty assembled by Josef Albers at Yale University in the mid-1950s. There her interest in ancient weaving was piqued by Pre-Columbian art historian Dr. George Kubler, and Hicks began to intensify her research on color, form, texture, and structure. The artist spent several formative years at Yale (1954–59), interspersed with a study grant to Chile and travels through South America, where she visited, photographed, and documented archaeological sites and indigenous weaving that informed her earliest woven exercises. Hicks’s work has continually expanded in scale, from intimate weavings constructed wherever she treks, to the architectural breadth of expansive walls, wrapped columns, and dramatic, textured environments of intensely hued, bundled fiber. Seize, Weave Space engages Hicks’s myriad techniques of expanding her manual vocabulary, as visible in the installation that fills and transforms the Lower Level Gallery into a landscape of little-known discoveries.
Hicks also commandeers innovative, industrially perfected fibers in her sculpture. Unique for their heightened colors of pure pigments that are resistant to both sun and humidity, synthetic fibers enable new creative exploits. This has greatly expanded the range of Hicks’s endeavors and also allows the artist to extend her installations outdoors. Seize, Weave Space continues in the Nasher Garden.