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Photo: Tom Bird
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Sheila Hicks: Off Grid

7 April - 25 September 2022

Sheila Hicks (b. Nebraska, USA, 1934) is one of the world’s foremost artists investigating colour, form and texture.

Drawing together over 70 works from international public and private collections, this major exhibition explores the many facets of Hicks’ ground-breaking work. They range from intimate minimes – small woven explorations that Hicks continually creates on a hand-held frame – to large-scale installations that fill spaces with voluminous form and vibrant colour. The exhibition spans Hicks’ career from her earliest works made in the 1950s to new site-specific commissions.

Off Grid reveals how Hicks’ extensive travels across several continents, where she immersed herself in local communities and studied vernacular textile traditions by observing and collaborating with local artists and artisans, together with her own experimentation and natural curiosity, inspired her to develop an unique artistic language. On display are little-known photographs and journals offering insights into the extraordinary range of cultural and aesthetic influences that have inspired her work.

Prestigious collaborations and commissions have enabled Hicks to collapse the boundaries between art, architecture and design. These have included commissions for the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York, King Saud University in Riyadh and the Cultural Centre of Fuji City in Japan as well as projects with IBM, CBS, Air France, Rothschild Bank, Bridgestone, Artek and Georg Jensen, several of which are examined in the exhibition.

For The Hepworth Wakefield, Hicks has created major new installations that respond to David Chipperfield’s architecture and the new Tom Stuart-Smith garden, where there is a specially-commissioned monumental sculpture of weather-resistant fibres.

“We are delighted to be working with Sheila Hicks to present her first major retrospective in the UK. Over the past 60 years Hicks has been one of the greatest innovators in the field of sculpture, challenging traditional boundaries between art forms and using thread and textiles to create works that speak in a universal language. This exhibition offers a wealth of exhilarating visual and sensual experiences, while also giving insight into the rigorous research and creative experimentation that feeds into her unique artistic approach.” – Andrew Bonacina, Chief Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield.

‘The Sheila Hicks exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield promises to be ravishing. A perfect venue for her art.’ Guardian

In the press

Sheila Hicks, Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022

To coincide with Sheila Hicks’ first major UK retrospective, The Hepworth Wakefield commissioned Sheila Hicks to create a new outdoor sculpture – Gabriel Reaching for Heaven, 2022 – which was on display in The Hepworth Wakefield Garden.

Through working with textile producer Sunbrella, which developed weather-resistant fibres, Hicks was able to expand her work in outdoor settings. Hicks’ outdoor sculptures push fibres to their physical and conceptual limits, creating soft architectural inventions in form and colour.

Sheila Hicks at Coal Drops Yard

To coincide with the exhibition, King’s Cross Estate have commissioned Hicks to create a new work for Coal Drops Yard, London. This giant outdoor installation responds to the carefully restored Victorian architecture, creating a gently moving garden in the sky. Free and open to all from 26 May until 17 October 2022.


Exhibition supported by:

Major supporters

Jay Franke & David Herro

The Gaudio Family Foundation


The Roden Family

With materials supplied by Sunbrella