Crossing the Line
25 June – 19 July 2014
Preview: Tuesday 24 June, 5-7pm
The 2012 exhibition The Dreams of Children signalled a shift in Michael Hight’s painting practice. The black paintings had a dramatic and nocturnal quality which is extended in Crossing the Line as the new works continue Hight’s fascination with memory, archives, encyclopaedias and the surprising relations between things. Each work is like a theatrical tableau placed upon a shelf against a black backdrop for the viewer to behold. A handful of elements are juxtaposed to produce multiple effects—luminous paintwork, autobiographical threads, historical narratives, psychological judders, allegory, metaphor and so on. In contrast to Hight’s beehive paintings, these works feature landscape on a reduced scale. It is partitioned off and rattles against the things and people placed in the scene. At times, the paintings generate a sense of unease, the macabre, the unfamiliar, a visual puzzle. At other times, the effect is nostalgic, moving, deeply familiar.
The exhibition, Crossing the Line, takes its title from the ceremonies ships engaged in when they crossed the Equator in the 1880s. This ceremony is featured in the exhibition’s largest painting of the same title.