AOTW #5: Sheila Hicks, and why good pieces of Art are kind of like animals.
We agree with Sheila Hicks, our PTC Artist of the Week. Art should draw you in. It should make you want to touch it, see it, smell it ... to see if it bites! Basically, good pieces of Art are kind of like animals- cute and furry animals that you want to play with, and cuddle, and sit on.
Nobody embodies this tactile ideology more than weaving legend, Sheila Hicks. Born in 1934, Hicks has travelled all over the world, learning the diverse language of weaving from artisan weavers in countries including Chile, Morrocco, Israel and Japan. An art graduate from the Yale School of Art, Hicks was awarded the Fullbright scholarship in 1957, which saw her move to Chile to continue her artistic studies. It is while she was living in South America, that Hicks first began to develop an interest in textile art.
The depth of Sheila Hick's practical and intellectual relationship with textiles has allowed her to utilize diverse weaving techniques from all corners of the globe, combining style, colour and texture to create works which extend beyond the normal boundaries of textiles to become architectural feats of design which overwhelm the senses.
Originally from Nebraska, 82 year old Hicks now lives in Paris, and exhibits her work internationally, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, London’s V&A, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Pompidou.
As well as large-scale exhibitions, Hicks also makes smaller pieces, which she affectionately calls her 'minimes'. These minimes are small hand-woven pieces, which Hicks creates uses coloured pieces of fabric and thread, and everyday objects that she finds on her travels- pieces of wood, or bone, shells, feathers, jewellery.. hospital bands! By weaving these found objects into her minimes, these tiny works of art are elevated beyond the aesthetic to form a narrative, becoming pages of a diary which tell her story to the world.
What appears central to Hick's work, is a sense of fun, of relatability. The vibrant colours, the squishy, voluptuous textures, the almost uncontrollable urge to touch her work, all create a feeling of friendliness, of approachability. Unlike the austere and angular nature of many contemporaneous sculptures, Hick's frothing waterfalls of woven colour cascade in a way which seems human and alive. Her use of colour adds to this sense of vibrancy, the bold colours creating a joyful sensory experience.
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