The Hayward Gallery Project Space presents an exhibition by Sheila Hicks, marking the artist’s first solo show in a UK public institution. Renowned for blurring boundaries between textile traditions, art, design and architecture, Hicks has distinguished herself over the past five decades as one of the most influential figures in contemporary art working with supple materials. Hicks has always paid homage to age-old indigenous manual practices in formmaking, thus allowing her works to have a distinctive voice in modernist abstraction.
Much of Sheila Hicks’ site-specific work responds to and animates the surrounding architecture, offering a compliment and contrast to the hard, structural materials with her soft, pliable installations. Hicks has created an environment in the Hayward’s Project Space as a response to the gallery’s unique location and design which houses Dan Graham’s Waterloo Sunset Pavilion. Through the curved, translucent walls of the Pavilion, Hicks’ brightly coloured masses of pigmented fibres will be clearly visible to the passing traffic on Waterloo Bridge.
Within the Project Space, visitors can interact with recent large-scale works while discovering the changing cityscape of London. In addition, a selection of Hicks’ fibre-based calligraphic drawings will be presented along with her ‘Minimes’: intimate weavings, which the artist has made throughout her career. A selection of studies of Hicks’ commissions for architecture will also be included in the exhibition, along with related material for her Ford Foundation tapestries in New York - first realised in 1967, and re-created in 2013/14.
During her travels as a Fulbright scholar through South America in 1957-8, Hicks photographed and documented archeological sites and indigenous weavers, while also painting and teaching at the architecture faculty of the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile. In her 50-year career, colour, texture and structure have been integral to Hicks’ work, a result of her training in Bauhaus principles at Yale University.
Hicks established her studio in Paris in 1964, where she lives and works.
The exhibition is curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Hayward Gallery Chief Curator and Dominik Czechowski, Hayward Gallery Assistant Curator.