Prayer Rug, 1972
Demisch Denant, New York, NY.
Private Collection, New York, NY, acquired from the above 2016.
Puebla, Mexico, Museo Amparo, Sheila Hicks: Hilos libres. El textile y sus raices prehispanicas, 1954 – 2017, 4 Nov. 2017 – 2 April 2018.
‘There’s a lot of cultural symbolism on the meaning of certain fibers, textiles, and threads that creep into your life—and at what point in your life. They tend to get talked about at birth and at death.’ (Sheila Hicks)
Sheila Hicks, who currently lives in Paris, has worked with fiber materials since the late 1950s and transforms the art of weaving into contemporary sculpture. Having studied at the Yale School of Art under Josef Albers, Hicks was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to paint in Chile, where she found inspiration with indigenous weavers and the archeological sites in the Andes. It was during this time that she became curious about the potential of fiber as a primary material, and began using and manipulating it into sculpture.
Having worked on her Prayer Rugs series since the mid-1960s, Hicks often make reference to surfaces, landscapes, and built environments. The parabolic shape of Prayer Rug’s tassels mimics the arch forms commonly seen in the Islamic architecture Hicks encountered in North Africa during her travels. The vertical display of the piece upends the notion of the rug as a textile meant to be trodden underfoot, while bound tassels projecting from the plane emphasize the tactile quality of the wool fibers.
Sheila Hicks was born in Hastings, Nebraska and graduated with a BFA and MFA from Yale University. Hicks participated in the 57th Venice Biennale, curated by Christine Macel (2017); the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); Glasgow International (2016); Weaving & We, Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art (2016); The Whitney Biennial (2014); and The São Paulo Biennial (2012). She was awarded the Smithsonian Archives of American Art Medal in 2010 and was granted an Honorary Doctorate from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 2014. Hicks had a 50 year retrospective at the Centre Pompidou (2018), and her Prayer Rugs can be found in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA.