Sheila Hicks, Looming Large

Art | Jun 2015 | BY Brook S. Mason

Twists of yarn in a vibrant palette that venture into monumental sculpture and installation art, have long been the singular trademark of the Paris-based artist Sheila Hicks. This week, as part of Art Basel’s Unlimited sector, one of Hicks’ latest works, The Treaty of Chromatic Zones, is on view, presented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. and galerie frank elbaz.

What’s her newest work like? Well, leave your knitting needles and all preconceptions of supposedly artful macramé at home as Hicks is no routine textile artist. Hicks’s Treaty is composed of a undulating wall of far more than 30 bamboo poles which she dresses in multiple layers of masses of sharp orange, cerise and soft shades of blue silk and alpaca yarns along with acrylic floss, linen and cotton. When it comes to scale, Hicks—who frequently travels with a hand held loom on jets—knows no bounds. Her compelling Treaty spans a stunning 40 feet across and 14 feet in height and crosses disciplines.

Sheila Hicks with her installation at Design Miami/Basel in 2014.

Talk about astonishing texture, the octogenarian, who studied under Josef Albers at Yale and whose work was included in the Whitney Biennial just last year, has embedded slivers and chunks of slate in the yarn which is first laid on hand made paper.

“Once again, Sheila explores and expands abstraction, color theory, and constructions yet with her own use of distinctive materials while hovering over sculpture, architecture and tapestry but in entirely new ways,” says Michael Jenkins, who has placed her work with the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum while Elbaz sealed a deal with the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

The Treaty of Chromatic Zones, 2015

The Treaty of Chromatic Zones, 2015, installed at Unlimited

“Sheila is exploring and expanding abstraction, color theory and constructions yet with her own use of distinctive materials,” adds Jenkins. As exemplified in Treaty, she combines intention and intuition with a careful analysis of the characteristics of the exhibition space.

For the full repertoire of Hicks period work, head to the stands of Sikkema Jenkins in the main section of Art Basel and Demisch Danant at Design Miami/Basel.

cultured magazine sheila hicks whitney museum

Hicks’ Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, 2013-14 at the Whitney Museum

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