Hight’s establishment of the beehive as a social and industrial metaphor has altered the way the New Zealand landscape is read. The emphasis upon detail and environmental context has caused viewers to look again and differently. “Hight has introduced a subject normally considered commonplace New Zealand into the realm of high art.” (1) There is a message in the delivery. The hives and implied bees become symbolic of “integrated societies and are a contemplation on the way in which cultures establish and develop.” (2)
There is a commonality of interest across Hight’s abstract and representational concerns – “in the light, colour and structures of the environment.” (3) There is a continuous focus upon sculptural shape and architectural presence. In surface detail, texture and translucence, colour is used to counterpoint the natural world while time is implicit in the materiality of the work. The objects are ‘found’ in the landscape and the landscape ‘specifies’ the objects. The works have enigmatic qualities but the narrative is an incessant debate about order and chaos, ideas and notions of transformation.
With his Wandering Eye, Hight is undertaking a sustained body of work that begins with the commonplace and, imbued with the powers of contradiction, alters not only ‘how’ but also ‘what’ we see.
1. Annette Edwards, Hight’s New Work Speaks to the Viewer, February 21, 2002.
2. John Daly-Peoples, “Artists Find Cultural Identity in Beehives… ,” National Business Review, August 2, 2002.