Art Design

(Extra)ordinary textures

Sheila Hicks, Si j’étais de laine, vous m’accepteriez ?, 2016
Exhibition view, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris
Ph © Raphael Fanelli

I am not interested in decoration. I am interested in enhancing your environment in an exciting and passionate and beautiful and comforting way

Sheila Hicks, conversation with Tyler Green
Sheila Hicks, Unknown Data, 2014
Exhibition view, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris
Ph © Zarko Vijatovic

Textiles had been relegated to a secondary role in our society, to a material that was either functional or decorative. I wanted to give it another status and show what an artist can do with these incredible materials

Sheila Hicks, interview from Archives of American Art, 2004
Sheila Hicks, Si j’étais de laine, vous m’accepterie z?, 2016
Exhibition view, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris
Ph © Raphael Fanelli

My mother’s thing was remnants. Her father had the general store in Hastings, Nebraska. The general store meant everything from buttons to tractors. Farms surrounded Hastings. My mother loved to make something out of something that was left over from something else. So she helped me make all my clothes out of things that we’d find. She was a forager, and everyone was so proud; in that area of the world, people are proudly industrious in a way without showing off. Even Warren Buffett has this philosophy of not being ostentatious

Sheila Hicks, Artforum

Sheila Hicks, Torsades émeraudes, 2017
Linen – 62 x 47 cm (24 3/8 x 18 1/2 inches)
Ph © Claire Dorn

It was 1957 and, with only two other women, Sheila Hicks graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Yale University. With artist Anni Albers she had already discovered certain weaving techniques and had plunged into the ideas of the Bauhaus and Modernism. Shortly thereafter she would be inspired enormously by a trip to Chile and by Raoul d’Harcourt’s book Les textiles anciens du Pérou and, thanks to the colors and fibers of South America, Hicks moved on from a passion for painting to the use of textiles as an expressive means.

Sheila Hicks, Incomprehensible Yellow Space, 2020
Linen on wood and aluminium – 150 x 150 cm (59 x 59 inches)
Ph © Claire Dorn

Overcoming barriers of politics and gender, this United States artist will transform the most ordinary materials into the most extraordinary visual language. In her more than sixty-year career, her talent for color has experimented with monumental forms and has intertwined relationships with cultures from everywhere, bringing her work into hundreds of museums, from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York to the MAK in Vienna.

For all images, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Frank Elbaz