an interview with artist Sheila Hicks

Hicks-web4Danielle Mysliwiec interveiws Shiela Hicks for The Brooklyn Rail:

Rail: The woven works and paintings in your M.F.A. thesis exhibition lean heavily toward abstraction. When you began at Yale, Clement Greenberg gave the Ryerson lecture at Yale entitled “Abstract and Representational,” attempting to make a case for abstraction. Given the climate, do you remember your first explorations in abstraction? Did you experience a debate in your own practice?

Hicks: The first year was a compulsory course conducted by Sewel Sillman. We made watercolors of melons or onions. We did figure drawing, exercises in perception of all kinds, and I took Albers’s course on color, Interaction of Color.Anyone who’s ever taken Interaction of Color, or taught it, which I taught to young architects when I had my Fulbright in Chile, inevitably thinks in terms of color as an exercise. Color is an emotion, it’s an idea, but it’s also a visual exercise. What happens if a color like this slice of lemon is next to this hot chocolate and then moves next to bougainvillea? Consider what kind of emotional response it evokes. When I exhibited both my paintings and weavings for my M.F.A.evaluation, there were definitely landscape references from Chile. Chilean landscape is overwhelmingly beautiful. I traveled with the photographer Sergio Larrain all the way down into the Beagle Canal and Strait of Magellan where there are immense manganese blue glaciers. I saw spectacular landscapes and seascapes. Inevitably I think that migrated into my work—not seeking to represent it, not seeking to portray it, but to emulate the sense, the feeling one has in perceiving that aura.

more here.