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Michael Hight: New Works (2016)

Michael Hight: New Works (2016)

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When:

  • Sat 22 Oct ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Tue 25 Oct ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 26 Oct ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 27 Oct ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 28 Oct ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 29 Oct ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 31 Oct ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 1 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 2 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 3 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 4 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 5 Nov ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 7 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 8 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 9 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 10 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 11 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 12 Nov ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 14 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 15 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 16 Nov ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • View all sessions

Where:

Milford Galleries Dunedin, 18 Dowling St, Dunedin Show map

Restrictions:

All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Michael Hight’s landscapes explore the tension between the wild and the domestic. Under cloudless skies, the eroded faces and sharp ridgelines of mountain peaks run down to the exotic plantings and farmed paddocks at their feet. The artist’s signature beehives act as the ultimate symbol of domesticated nature and (economic) industry. Due to their very co-optation to the requirements of modern agriculture and economic imperatives, however, the existence of bees is increasingly precarious, an irony implied in Hight’s works.

Hight’s beehive paintings sit within a narrative of landscape painting that extends through the works of Rita Angus, Michael Smither, and Don Binney. Like these painters, Hight’s clarity of line, light, and shadow throws the geology and geography of the land in sharp relief. This hard, clear light is the first thing noticed upon seeing the central work of this collection, Middle Rock Station. The snow's bluish-white reflects a cold, still, light off the canvas surface and the sky’s pale hue also possesses a chill calm. Shadows divide the slopes into a collection of angular facets, which become more regular and controlled as the eye moves down to the farmland below and comes to rest on the ordered rectangles of the beehives in the foreground.

Hight details how human intervention has shaped the ecology of the area: lines of macrocarpas and poplars act as windbreaks and scrubby gorse bushes – escapees from their original hedging – dot the paddocks. The mob of grazing sheep appears as a permanent fixture in this altered landscape and like the honeybees, they hold the status of non-native immigrants. The artist draws parallels between the controlled, human-made environment of the bee-hives and the similarly manipulated environment of the landscape.

The purity of light and structure in Michael Hight’s landscapes fosters the sense of the countryside’s stark beauty, but also performs as a foil for his commentary on the illusion of a timeless and pristine environment. His paintings aestheticise the colonisation of a natural environment, cloaking human interference with beautiful geometries and considered composition. Height offers neither solution nor criticism but stands witness; the subtle expression of his message creates space and time for its further consideration.

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