Critics’ Picks

View of “Panta Rhei,” 2018.

View of “Panta Rhei,” 2018.


Sheila Hicks and Judit Reigl

Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder
Grünangergasse 1
September 14–November 3, 2018

Sheila Hicks and Judit Reigl both believe that change is the only constant that shapes our world. Accordingly, their exhibition here is characterized by a pulsation that can also be described as life—and which, in turn, is marked by change. Hicks and Reigl live in Paris and have been active as artists for more than half a century (Hicks was born in Nebraska in 1934, Reigl in Hungary in 1923), and they are now brought together by curator Julia Garimorth for “Panta Rhei,” a show that correlates form, material, and wisdom.  

The image of a changeable river suggests itself especially in Reigl’s series “Écriture d’après musique,” 1965–66, in which ink marks drawn to music dance on paper and, for all their ebullient fluidity, evoke the Surrealist methods of écriture automatique, as developed by André Breton. Reigl would play with language again in large-format paintings, three of which hang here. They belong to her “Unfolding (Déroulement)” series, 1973–85, for which the artist soaked cotton cloth in acrylic and rolled it over the canvas so that the paint oscillates between foreground and background.  

Hicks uses cotton, linen, silk, and other textiles to create impressive formations that hover between fine and applied art. Cascade, 2017–18, gushes like a waterfall from the ceiling to the parquet, where the white fibers gather like a soggy mop. In Éfferent, Afférent, 2018, threads are drawn so tightly beside one another on a stretcher frame that the colors of the materials begin to mix optically, giving the impression of water’s shimmering surface.