Sheila Hicks - SCAD Employee Web Space

Sheila Hicks
• Sheila Hicks is an
internationally recognized
artist. She was born in
Hastings, Nebraska and
received her BFA and MFA
degrees from Yale University.
Upon completing her studies
at Yale Hicks received a
Fulbright scholarship in 1957
to paint in Chile.
• While studying painting under
the Bauhaus professor Josef
Albers, but when a preColumbian textile course
captured her attention, he took
her home to meet his wife,
Anni, a noted weaver. At his
suggestion, she applied for a
Fulbright scholarship to South
America and spent the first few
years of her weaving life
journeying through Venezuela,
Bolivia, Peru and Chile, and back
north to Mexico. It was in Chile
where she began her passion for
working with fibers. In India she
worked in a handloom factory
producing commercial textiles.
• Since then, Hicks has founded several
production facilities which use traditional
methods in Mexico, Chile and South Africa
and has set up a studio in Paris, the
Ateliers des Grand Augustins. She divides
her time between Paris and New York
while teaching and working worldwide.
Over the past fifty years, she has
produced a number of large art
Sheila Hicks, “Saint-Jean-de-Dieu”. 1973.
Wrapping of linen with cotton and silk, 5’ x
Sheila Hicks The Silk Rainforest
ca. 1975
silk, linen, and cotton 96 x 270 x 3 in.
(243.8 x 685.8 x 7.6 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Sheila Hicks. “Macro-Tissage”. 1974. White
linen 9’ x 9’
• “Although she is best known for her
role in the international fiber
revolution that transformed textiles
into a 3D art during the 1960s and
1970s … Sheila Hicks’ contribution
extends far beyond that historical
moment. The book, Weaving as a
Metaphor, examines a singular aspect
of her practice, situating her small
weavings in the context of philosophy
and of contemporary art and design,”
explain the authors in the book’s
foreword. With their distinctive colors,
thoughtful compositions and narrative,
Hicks’ miniature creations reveal the
emergence and continuity of the
artist’s approach to her work.
• For 50+ years Ms. Hicks has taken a
small wooden frame around the
globe to create notebook size
weavings of the intimate kind. These
pieces started when she was an art
student at Yale. By her own estimate
she has made more than 1000 of
them. Ms. Hicks has referred to the
miniatures as “personal expressions”,
“private investigations” and also to
lighten matters, “ramblings”. These
pieces have informed her conceptual
ideas, material explorations and large
scale commissions. —Sheila Hicks,
"I found my voice and
my footing in my
small work. It
enabled me to build
bridges between
art, design,
architecture, and
decorative arts." Sheila Hicks
Rue des Marronniers, Made in Paris, 1973
Alpaca and Silk, Collection of Monique Levi-Strauss
What at first glance appears to be
a simple woven sample, is
anything but. There a number of
different weaving strategies and
scales at work in these
misleadingly small pieces.
Hicks Cicatrices 1968
Silk, mohair
Much of her work deals with weaving
inspiration that she has accrued from a
number of different cultures around the
world. This does not mean that she
merely copies the traditional work of
these cultures. She uses the style and
construction of a particular culture as a
starting point in which to pursue her
own individual and personally creative
Sheila Hicks Olympic
Bravery 1979
• Grand Portal
Cotton, Linen SIZE: h: 9.5 x w:
8.5 in / h: 24.1 x w: 21.6 cm
1945-present) Made in
morocco 1972
Nina Nina,
Made in Cour de Rohan,
Paris, 2005
Cotton and Wool
In Weaving as a Medaphor,
Arthur Danto discusses “the
kingly art of weaving” and
what one might call the art of
justice, as discussed by Plato
in The Republic, there aim was
to find what kind of virtue
justice was… harmonizing the
other virtues in the interest of
producing unity.
“Now we have reached the appointed end
of weaving of the web of the state. It is
fashioned by the statesman's weaving: the
strand run true, and these strands are the
genital and the brave. Here these strands
are woven into a unified character. For this
unity is won where the kingly art draws the
life or both types into a true fellowship by
mutual concord and by ties of friendship. It
is the finest and best fabric.
Sheila Hicks, Phare d’Acier
Made in Brittany, France 2003
Linen, cotton , stainless steel
• Linen Lean-To', Sheila
Hicks, tapestry basrelief, 1967–68.The
artist conceived the
work in 1967–68 after a
winter trip to
Normandy, France,
where she saw houses
with snow piled high on
the roofs. She
successfully re-creates
the effect of this
compelling sight with a
totally unsuspected
Sheila Hicks was one of the early artist to introduce the idea of
using masses of clothing to stand in for human counter parts.
Hicks laid out her work in in an orderly configuration creating a
social wall of cloth, a social commentary. The unit of cloth are
her building block, the commonality of the human experience.
Shelia Hicks,
1978. Montreuil,
France, Shirts
and rope.
•Hicks began her environments installations in 1974 using mended sheets and
darned socks.
•Hicks used emotional charged, ready-made items of daily use: hospital gowns,
cotton army shirts, old women’s blouses.
•She used recycled material to suggest recycled lives.
Shelia Hicks with Khaki Uniforms Immobilized (United States, Europe, and Middle East),
1985-86. Cotton army shirts, 252 x252”. Installed at the Milwaukee art Museum,
These uniforms suggest the ordered world of multinational forces- or the world made
orderly by multinational forces.
“The Four Seasons of Fuji” 1999
Fuji City Cultural Center, Japan
2.60 x 103 meters, five tons of linen thread
• Known for her use of distinctive colors, experimental and
natural materials, and personal narratives, these intriguing
weavings reveal the emergence and continuity of the artist’s
inventive approach to textile media, and aunique connection
between the artistic and design aspects of textiles. Her work
is diverse, switching between miniatures and gigantic. Using a
portable frame loom of her own design, Hicks employs a
remarkably broad range of materials as well, such as cotton,
wool, linen, silk, goat hair, alpaca, paper, leather, stainless
steel, and found objects. All of which she turns into woven
works of considerable beauty and intricate detail.
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