Very Silk Bas-Relief, 1976
10 H x 4.5 x 4 inches
25.4 H x 11.4 x 10.2 cm
This is a nice story. Last spring, Demisch Danant presented Sheila Hicks: Line by Line, Step by Step, in two chapters. The exhibition focused on Hicks's ‘minimes’ and other small works spanning six decades of her intimate practice. These works, among others, reveal her journeys, discoveries, revelations, and a deep connection to sense of place. As a personal archive, each work unveils hidden meanings and invites the viewer into a labyrinth of discovery.
Between the two exhibition chapters, Suzanne visited Sheila at her atelier in Paris. The primary focus of the visit was to work with Sheila on current projects. While there, Suzanne eyed a group of cream-toned silk ‘ponytails’ hanging on a plexi frame on the window sill, but never spoke of it. The window sill was filled up with Sheila’s collections, reflecting organically the same intention of the show in the gallery. One month later, when we installed the next chapter, a crate arrived with the ‘ponytails’ for the presentation. As an added twist, Very Silk Bas-Relief was displayed in a Chinese vitrine.
Sheila Hicks’s work is an evolving practice; she reforms, adapts and modifies her works over time. Very Silk Bas-Relief was first exhibited in the 1970s, and after, sequestered in Sheila’s personal collection. “Ponytails” is a recurring element in this remarkable artist’s oeuvre—created by pulling together long pieces of soft linen or silk and then binding them at intervals with threads dyed in bright colors.
In an interview with Monique Levi-Strauss in 2004, Sheila noted “I found my voice and my footing in my small work. It enabled me to build bridges between art, design, architecture and decorative arts.”