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Secret Passage

February 7, 2020 – May 3, 2020

Image Gallery

  • featuring Candace Hicks
  • February 7 – May 3, 2020
  • Middle Gallery

Secret Passage is a bookish installation that warps and multiplies space itself while offering a rich, narrative experience. The exhibition includes twenty-four volumes of Common Threads, unique hand-embroidered collections of coincidences gleaned from the artist’s reading. Also, The Case of the Endless Yarn, unspools its secrets from the gallery’s ceiling with a whodunnit tale stitched from an enigmatic library. Lastly, viewers are offered a glimpse into fictional spaces made material. This project expands upon the double meaning of “secret passage.” In general, a secret passage allows for clandestine smuggling or concealing treasure. Whether your intentions are noble or devious, hidden routes facilitate stealth by deceiving our expectations of design. Alternately, in a literary sense, a secret passage encodes a text whose mystery can only be revealed by a careful reader bent on solving the puzzle.

With a background in book art, Candace Hicks’s work is based on reading fiction. With the exhibition Read Me at Lawndale Art Center, Hicks opened the book form into a room-sized interactive installation in which viewers pieced together a puzzle of narrative to find the correct solution. The Locked Room at Living Arts in Tulsa focused on a specific genre of literature the “locked room” mystery, and visitors were tasked with the challenge to find the means of metaphorically escaping the gallery. Egress at Pump Project explored literary connections and coincidences through sculpture and text. For Many Mini Murder Scenes at Women and Their Work, Hicks reproduced tableaux plucked from crime fiction and offered viewers the experience of playing a detective searching for clues. Candace Hicks is an Associate Professor at Stephen F. Austin State University. Her artist’s books are in collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and many university special collections including Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.