Michael Hight

New Zealand b. 1961

Michael Hight is a self-taught artist whose preferred medium is oil on canvas. His work considers the notion of the beehive as a metaphor for transformation. “The beehive metaphor appeals to the artist as a site of transformation, a setting where wax becomes honeycomb, where the luminous, geometric structure witnesses the conversion of nectar into honey. And each beehive transforms the artist’s palette, the ochre, white, and red, into sensual image. The paintings stand as portraits of the New Zealand landscape yet they also stand as portraits of the art making process.ᅠThe artist, like the bee, navigates, collects, and transforms.” (Paula Green, Omarama, Place of Light: Michael Hight’s Beehive Paintings.)

Set within an archetypal New Zealand rural landscape, stacks of hives become the main protagonist within each scene. Seasonal, geographical and compositional variations are explored which allow the artist to negotiate subtle nuances in light, tone, composition and intensity of hue. Hight’s paintings are technically sophisticated and meticulous in their attention to detail. Stylistically, Hight's works appear anchored within realism and incite comparisons with American realist painter Andrew Wyeth, whose desolate landscapes remain mysteriously uninhabited. However on close inspection, the application of paint and arrangement of elements within the composition clearly reveal Hight’s proficiency as an abstractionist.

Combined with a noticeable absence of activity, the works reveal a crucial paradox which Gregory O’Brien cites is central to Hight’s work, where “…the immense activity within the hives is so comprehensively contradicted by the inactivity of their external appearance.” (O’Brien, Gregory, Michael Hight: Land of Milk and Honey, John Leech Gallery (Catalogue), Auckland, 2004.) One cannot help but regard the works as symbolic of the human condition.

After graduating from Victoria University of Wellington with a B. Soc. Sc in 1982, Hight travelled before living in London. This close proximity to Europe and her art was of inevitable influence to Hight. His work does not only reference Aotearoa, but also shows influence from such 16thᅠcentury Northern artists such as Pieter Brueghel, whoseᅠTower of Babelᅠ(c.1563) seems to be an integral part of hisᅠFrom the Argo to Audobonᅠ(2012). His use of oil paint and clean line come together to form compelling images of a high quality and finish which evoke an elegant intensity whilst mystifying and delighting viewers

 Michael Hight lives and works in Auckland and has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. His work is held in public and private collections within New Zealand including Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, The Chartwell Collection, The James Wallace Trust and Coopers Lybrand.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2012ᅠ HYPERLINK "http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz/exhibitions/pastexhibitions/2012/michaelhight.asp" Dreams of Children,ᅠGowᅠLangsford Gallery, Auckland

2011ᅠReliquary, Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand

2010ᅠFrom Waimarino to Red Jacks, John Leech Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

Wakatipu, Milford Galleries, Queenstown, New Zealand

2009ᅠThe Road to Erewhon, Milford Galleries, Dunedin, New Zealand

2008ᅠMichael Hight,ᅠJohn Leech Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

2007ᅠRecent Work, Milford Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand

2006ᅠTaieri,ᅠMilford Gallery,ᅠDunedin,ᅠNew Zealand

Manuherikia,ᅠJanne Land Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

New Paintings,ᅠJohn Leech Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

2005ᅠNew Paintings,ᅠJanne Land Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

2004ᅠLandᅠofᅠMilkᅠand Honey,ᅠJohn Leech Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

New Works, Milford Galleries,ᅠDunedin,ᅠNew Zealand

2002ᅠOmarama, Place of Light, Gow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

2001ᅠCampbellᅠGrantᅠGalleries,ᅠChristchurch,ᅠNew Zealand

2000ᅠNorthern Landscapes, Gow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

1999ᅠRecent Paintings,ᅠCampbellᅠGrantᅠGalleries,ᅠChristchurch,ᅠNew Zealand

Recent Paintings, Janne Land Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1998ᅠMaungakakaramea, Gow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAucklandᅠNew Zealand

Gazetteer, Janne Land Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

1997ᅠFootnote,ᅠCampbellᅠGrantᅠGalleries,ᅠChristchurch,ᅠNew Zealand

1996ᅠFour Strong Winds,ᅠJanne Land Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

Four Strong Winds,ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

1995ᅠIn Trust,ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

Seven Rivers,ᅠJanne Land Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1992ᅠHeartland Trinkets,ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

1991ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

1990ᅠThe Quick Brown Fox,ᅠSculpture Installation, Fisher Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

Gow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

33 1/3 Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1989ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

33 1/3 Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1988ᅠGow Langsford Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

Jonathan Jensen Gallery,ᅠChristchurch,ᅠNew Zealand

33 1/3 Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1987ᅠ33 1/3 Gallery,ᅠWellington,ᅠNew Zealand

1986ᅠFalcon Gallery,ᅠLondon,ᅠEngland

The Foyer Gallery, Hampstead,ᅠLondon,ᅠEngland

1984Words and Pictures Gallery,ᅠAuckland,ᅠNew Zealand

 

Michael Hight Exhibition Aesthete Gallery November 2015

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