Sheila Hicks, Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity, 2017
For over 50 years, American artist Sheila Hicks has redefined the boundaries of fiber as a medium, creating a distinctive body of work that falls between the fields of fine art, craft, design, and architecture. Having studied at the Yale University School of Art under the tutelage of Josef Albers, a modern master of art education and color theory, Hicks is a sculptor of color just as much as of fiber. Her works range in scale from small minimes—weavings no larger than a half-sheet of letter paper—to immersive indoor and outdoor architectural environments composed of lavish color and texture. In 1957, Hicks was awarded a Fulbright scholarship which provided her the opportunity to travel to Chile, marking the beginning of a transformative lifelong practice of teaching, research and art-making throughout South America, Mexico, South Africa, Morocco, and India, documented via weavings, writings, and photography.
For her High Line Commission, Hicks draws inspiration from the many kinetic elements that dance around the High Line: the ballet of construction vehicles at the Rail Yards; the multitudinous interwoven layers of construction mesh that cover buildings, scaffolding, and streetscapes; unfinished architectural lattices; and lace of hanging crane cables. Her vibrant installation comprised of twisting tubes of various types of colored fiber will crawl along the rails at the Western Rail Yards, surprising and delighting passerby.