Fiber Optics

Sheila Hicks retro at Joslyn displays color, innovation in textile art

With Sheila Hicks: Material Voices, Joslyn Art Museum adds a fiber-rich exhibition to Omaha’s art diet.

In fact, this show supplements the usual fare in two important ways: bringing attention to a medium (textiles) often underrepresented in fine art museums, as well as shining a light on an internationally renowned artist with Nebraska roots.

Sheila Hicks was born in Hastings in 1934 and went on to study art at Yale University. Her encounters there with luminaries of color theory (Josef Albers), pre-Columbian art (George Kubler) and architecture (Louis Kahn) provided structure for her own early explorations in indigenous weaving techniques in Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Morocco and beyond.

Settling in Paris where she still makes her home, Hicks would go on to become a singular force in transforming colorful, hand-worked fibers into distinctive sculptural expressions.

The Joslyn exhibition will feature work spanning 50 years of Hicks’ oeuvre, ranging from wall-hung tapestries to clusters of small fiber orbs. Also known for her large-scale installations, Hicks will be making a site-specific, ceiling-hung sculpture to take advantage of the soaring architecture of the Foster wing.

While visitors may have seen some of Hicks’ work before at the Museum of Nebraska Art and caught a glimpse at last year’s Threads at Kaneko, the Joslyn show offers the ultimate high fiber supplement that should be added to every art lover’s summer regimen.

Sheila Hicks: Material Voices opens at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street, on June 5 and runs through September 4, 2016. This is a ticketed exhibition; for information on hours, tours and non-member prices, visit or call 402/342-3300. 

Category: Art, Literary

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