We are presenting two current works by Sheila Hicks called Ernest and Boyer in the LOGIN, our window space facing Grünangergasse. Hicks, an American artist who has been living and working in Paris since the mid-1960s, is regarded as a master of textile techniques and their historical traditions. Her three-dimensional works venture far beyond the definition of textile art and play with an entire range of sizes and forms. They can be solitary and intimate – like the sculptures shown in the Gallery – or expansive and installation-like. Hicks’ weaving, tying, knotting, braiding, and wrapping broadly and substantially refer to Latin American techniques of working with textiles, especially those of ancient Peru and Mexico. Later in her career, she also became fascinated with textile techniques from Morocco and India. Other sources for Hicks’s works include modernist photography and architecture as well as concepts and ideas from the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) and Bauhaus. With their brilliant oscillation between applied and visual arts, her works have occupied a unique position in contemporary art for decades.
Hicks studied painting with Josef Albers at the Yale School of Art in Connecticut. After acquiring fundamental weaving knowledge and skills from Anni Albers, she began to explore and learn a variety of traditional weaving techniques. She spent time in Latin America as a Fulbright Scholar at the end of the 1950s, and she traveled around the continent and lived in Mexico for several years. This experience with local cultures and traditions had a lasting impact on her work. Regardless of whether her textile works are small or monumental in size, they are always defined by a balance between color nuances and the effects of color within a certain space. Using interdisciplinary approaches, Hicks explores the socio-political and cultural connotations of textiles and presents us with the fascinating and unconventional artistic language that characterizes her sensual and tactile works.
After Galerie nächst St. Stephan first showed works by Sheila Hicks in Vienna as part of the gallery festival curated by in 2018, the MAK – Museum für angewandet Kunst is now presenting SHEILA HICKS. Thread, Trees, River, the artist’s first major solo exhibition in the German-speaking world, until April 18, 2021.