Michael Hight returns to Gow Langsford Gallery with a solo exhibition of paintings that revisit the subject for which he is most well-known: landscapes, both familiar and transcendental, that are populated with beehives.
The inspiration for these new works is drawn from the New Zealand landscape; they are familiar and quintessentially ‘New Zealand,’ from the sparse fields of autumnal grasses to clear blue skies set against a backdrop of jagged mountains, these new paintings are set in landscapes as diverse as Mount Ruapehu and the surrounding tundra, to the ranges of Central Otago. The beehive - a distinct symbol and protagonist in many of Hight’s works - is at the forefront of these compositions, again scattered amongst the rural settings. On the use of the beehives as subject matter, Hight notes: “I look upon the beehives as a site of transformation and found sculptural arrangements.” He also suggests that “the beehive paintings are about looking twice at everyday objects, looking at the overlooked, the mundane.” Hight depicts the beehives as beacons within the landscape; our eyes are immediately drawn to the hives as we absorb each coloured panel and sense the history that the harsh elements have imposed on them. Hight’s skilled manipulation of light and shadow imbues these works with hyper-realistic and mesmeric qualities, further confirming the artist as a forerunner of New Zealand landscape painting.
Hight’s recent exhibitions with Gow Langsford have showcased his surreal ‘black paintings’; a notable shift from his sun-drenched, light-filled landscapes. Despite the differences, there are parallels between the two series which he continues to work on concurrently, and which highlight his meticulous skills as a painter.
Michael Hight lives and works in Auckland. His paintings are exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and he has works held in a number of private and public collections, including the Fletcher Trust Collection, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, and the James Wallace Trust, Auckland.
Image: Crown Range, 2017, oil on linen, 835 x 1670mm