Thursday, July 31, 2014

Module SIX – Chapter 12 – STUDY THREE ARTISTS

At the end of this course we are invited to study three artists whose work relates to some aspects considered in Module 6. One is Jae Maries, another is Barbara Lee Smith and the third may be an artist of our choice, and I thought of Sheila Hicks, one of the pioneering fiber artist of the Sixties and still working and exhibiting internationally.

Jae Maries, oil painter and textile artist from the UK

Personal website:
Email address :
Also featured in as a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists

I discovered Jae Maries by buying a book of hers, CONTRASTING ELEMENTS, which is one of my favourite works on design and organized like an energetic workshop with very good photographs and stimulating exercises.

I very much enjoy her bold ideas and spontaneous style of work and have set up a Pinterest board dedicated to her on my account to which I am gradually adding images.

Jae Maries makes a frequent use of thumbnail sketches as an inspiration for her textile pieces which combine a variety of media, oil painting, dyeing, screen printing, strong hand stitches and free machine straight stitching with vigorous and striking results. Her main themes are people in the environment, landscapes and everyday life.  

Here are some photos from her website:

Time Lines I and II

Roller Bladers     
Chinese Junks

Barbara Lee Smith, mixed media and textile artist from the USA

Personal website:
Email address:

Like as I did for Jae Maries, I have set up a board in her name on Pinterest and am adding images to it.
When looking at her intense pieces one can feel the salt, the ocean and the nature elements which give life to them. Land, sea and sky are always recognisable even if they are transformed and abstracted.

In her website Barbara Lee Smith explains in detail how her wall-hangings are made. I cite  her own words:

Materials: I use only one material, an industrial grade polyester non-woven fabric. It looks like paper, but it is so tough, I can’t even tear it. It is my canvas on which I paint using Golden and Daniel Smith acrylics as well as silk-paint pigments, all chosen for light-fastness. Each finished piece attaches with Velcro to a wooden frame that is mounted behind the work, pushing it away from the wall so it appears to hover on the wall, casting its shadow. Process and Techniques: I make a painting on the material, then bond several layers together to form a heavy base on which to collage small elements of the same painted material that are heat-set in place.  The final stage that literally and visually binds the work together is drawing with the sewing machine in lines that resemble a topographical map. I see this as a three-stage process of painting, collage and drawing to make the work. What do I call it? I call it art. Mixed Media is probably the simplest category.

Here are two images included in the gallery on her website

Sheila Hicks, weaver and textile sculptor from the USA

Sheila Hicks

Sheila Hicks was born in Nebraska in 1934 and is one of the pioneering American fiber artists of the Sixties. Since then she has continued making and exhibiting her works of art internationally, in South and North America, Europe and Japan.

She graduated in painting at Yale University School Art and Architecture in the Fifties, studying with artists like Josef Albers, Rico Lebrun and Bernard Chaet. She also studied photography with Herbert Matter and another important influence was Albers’ wife, textile artist Anni Albers, with whom she shared a strong interest in South American textiles. She travelled widely throughout her life and moved to Paris in 1964.

Sheila Hicks creates textile pieces in many shapes and sizes, from miniature weavings to monumental sculptures that hang from ceiling to floor like columns. In 2006 in New York the Barden Graduate Center held an important exhibition of her small works, Weaving as a Metaphor. These small works are not only beautiful and vibrant but also fundamental in her daily artistic practice. These are her words on their meaning in a talk of 2004: ‘I found my voice and my footing in my small work. It enabled me to build bridges between art, design, architecture, and decorative arts.’

Three pieces from the exhibition catalogue

On the opposite end of the scale these are two examples of a recent exhibition of her monumental pieces in Whitney.

Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, Sheila HicksRibbons, Sheila Hicks
Installation view of Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column at the Whitney Biennial, Sheila Hicks, 2013-2014. Photo: Bill Orcutt, source: ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST online edition, April 8, 2014
Some sources on Sheila Hicks on the Internet:

I have set up a board on Pinterest named after her which shows a good number of her works.

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