The Kunstmuseum St. Gallen presents the first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland by the internationally renowned artist Sheila Hicks from February 4 to May 14, 2023.
Sheila Hicks’ imagination is limitless. The artist, who has been based in Paris since 1964, works with natural materials in vibrant hues. She is constantly knotting, weaving, and spinning new forms out of wool, linen, and silk. On the one hand, the artist was influenced by modernism, having studied painting at Yale University under Bauhaus master Josef Albers. She is, on the other hand, influenced by traditional crafts from several continents, which she learned about while traveling and staying in Chile, Mexico, India, and Morocco, among other locations.
The works in the show a little bit of a lot of things span more than fifty years. It looks back on a vast and interesting body of work, as well as current pieces by Hicks, whose creative power remains undiminished to this day.
Large-scale pieces alternate with small weavings, which the artist works on intermittently, much like drawings. Hicks has continually devised artistic manipulations to articulate new shapes out of textile materials, such as weaving interwoven with natural items, scepters wrapped in colorful wool, and thread accumulations strung into ropes as thick as an arm.
The LOK’s architecture is perfectly adapted to Sheila Hicks’ sense of space: two massive textile columns rise up to the ceiling of this industrial building, which originally held locomotives, as though supporting the frail roof. A jumble of brightly colored wool netting makes a delicate sculpture with painterly aspects. Hicks’ textile efforts radically alter the environment. Dimensions are shifted, and the artist intervenes on a scale that reduces the human body to insignificance.
Besides from the textile materials, which have a significant presence, Hicks’ vibrant and exuberant color choice is also noteworthy. It is reminiscent of indigenous textile crafts from South America and India. Hicks thus acts as a bridge between diverse cultures and regions, as well as between different traditions, such as painting and textile work, to create a singular aesthetic vision.
Sheila Hicks’ art has been shown in solo and group exhibits all around the world. She took part in the 2017 Venice Biennale, the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York, and the 2012 Bienal de So Paulo. Lignes de Vie at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Free Threads 1954-2017 at Museo Amparo in Mexico, and Grace, No Gridlock at galerie frank elbaz in Paris are recent solo shows.
Curator: Gianni Jetzer
9000 St. Gallen