Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Opens Sheila Hicks 50 Years

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) presents Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, the first major retrospective to honor this extraordinary American artist. On view March 24 – August 7, 2011.

Sheila Hicks has built an international reputation with her two- and three-dimensional works in fiber. Her remarkably far-reaching artistic focus has encompassed painting, sculpture, photography, weaving, fabric design, writing, publishing, teaching and collaborations with architects. Her early work of the 1960s was at the forefront of experimentation in sculpture. By the 1980s it had taken hold. Since that time, her unique work has explored the dynamic interactions of color and the skills required to hone an aesthetic vision in multiple media.

Featuring more than 90 of her most important works, including a major installation of a work on loan from Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis displayed in an entirely new iteration, this exhibition offers insight into Hicks’s thinking, her processes, and her approach to materials, both fibers and found objects. The project reveals the continuities between the artist’s small weavings, and free-standing wrapped sculptures, and a colossal 20-foot high work suspended from ceiling and cascading from wall. Hicks’s exceptional body of work blurs boundaries between art, design, and architecture just as deftly as it crisscrosses cultures.

Born in Hastings, Nebraska in 1934 and a resident of Paris since 1964, Hicks is a pioneering figure noted for small woven works and public commissions whose structures are built of color and texture. Independent in spirit and itinerant in practice, she deliberately and provocatively engages what are often considered mutually exclusive domains, rethinking and pushing the limits of generally accepted contexts, conditions, and frameworks. These include distinct objects and temporal, performative actions, studio works and commissions for public buildings, design for industrial serial production in Germany, France, Japan and Sweden, and hand weaving in artisanal workshops in Mexico, Chile, India, Morocco, and South Africa.

Sheila Hicks: 50 Years is organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, and co-curated by independent curator Joan Simon and Addison Gallery Associate Director and Curator Susan Faxon. At ICA, the exhibition is coordinated by Curator Jenelle Porter.

Image: Sheila Hicks, Bamian (Banyan), 1968/2001, wool, wool twisted with acrylic; dimensions variable. Private collection

Institute of Contemporary Art @ University of Pennsylvania
118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 · 215 898-7108

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