At Sikkema Jenkins, Sheila Hicks Gets Down to Basics

THE DAILY PIC: One of our great fiber artists achieves "textile degree zero"


THE DAILY PIC (# 1439): This is a 2014 piece by Sheila Hicks, called Drawing with Fiber VI, from her current solo show at Sikkema Jenkins gallery in New York. For something like five decades now, long before her recent adoption by the world of “serious” visual art, Hicks has been one of the most important people working with textiles.

If you think about it, most fabric arts are all about transforming their raw material, often to the point that you can barely detect it: Fibers get hidden inside threads, which get transformed into weavings, which lose more of their identity once they get shaped into clothes. Whereas what I like about these new pieces by Hicks is that their roots in fibrous matter stay absolutely clear. You may not quite be able to feel the original plant or animal that’s their source, but you can definitely still sense the raw fiber and its imminent path toward becoming thread. Just as Frank Stella’s black canvases take painting down to its basic components, so Hicks’s fiber drawings figure out the minimum it takes for something to count as textile art. (© Sheila Hicks; image courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York)

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