Joslyn Art Museum has acquired a monumental new work by internationally renowned fiber artist Sheila Hicks for its permanent collection of contemporary art. The work, titled Mandan Shrine
(2016; pictured left), consists of “ponytails” or “cords,” a recurring element in Hicks’s work that she creates by bundling long strands of linen
and then tightly binding them at intervals with brightly colored threads.
The work is on view now at Joslyn as part of Sheila Hicks: Material Voices
(through September 4); Hicks conceived Mandan Shrine
specifically for the exhibition. While reflecting on her Nebraska heritage, she became interested in the work of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer. Joslyn’s collection includes nearly 400 watercolors and drawings by Bodmer, who journeyed up the Missouri River between 1832 and 1834 to portray the landscapes of the high plains and its native inhabitants. The nearly ten-foot-tall wall hanging Mandan Shrine
shares its title with a Bodmer watercolor depicting a ceremonial structure related to Mandan beliefs about the afterlife.
Special thanks to the Joslyn Art Group for making this acquisition possible: Rae and Bill Dyer (lead gift), Henry Davis, Diny and Jim Landen, Joe Moglia, Connie Ryan, Stacy and Bruce Simon, Martha and David Slosburg, and Annette and Paul Smith.
At the Joslyn Art Museum Association Gala preview of the exhibition on
Friday, June 3, a raise-the-paddle auction raised funds for the purchase of a second work by Hicks — Emerging with Grace
(2016; pictured right). Also on view now in the Material Voices
exhibition, Emerging with Grace
is an example of Hicks’s miniature weavings she calls minimes
. Using a loom she constructed in the late-1950s, Hicks turns to the minimes
to reflect on her rich life experiences and world travels. With its wandering lines and inclusion of a shell — a non-fiber material — Emerging with Grace
exemplifies the experimental nature of the intimate minimes
. Hicks created this weaving, along with several others, in the months leading up to the opening of Material Voices
, and has explained that she was reflecting on the colors of the Nebraska landscape.
(above left) Mandan Shrine
, 2016, linen, cotton, synthetic fibers, 118 1/2 x 53 1/2 in., Museum purchase with funds from the Joslyn Art Group, 2016.11 (Photo: Colin Conces); (above right) Emerging with Grace
, 2016, linen, cotton, silk, shell, 7 7/8 x 11 in., Museum purchase with funds from the Joslyn Art Museum Association Gala 2016, 2016.12 (Photo: Cristobal Zanartu); both © Sheila Hicks