Hite in the Shadows

A Robert Hite twofer – sited sculptures, paintings, and photography call to each other from the Shaker Village to the Berkshire Museum.

Foreboding and hopeful are adjectives one might use to describe Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite, a solo show co-presented by the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village.

The exhibit, which seeks to explore how we experience and influence the natural world, features sculpture; paintings; and photography by the artist, Robert Hite. This special partnership between the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village is the first in what the curators hope will be a series of collaborations.

“Robert’s work provided the Hancock Shaker Village and Berkshire Museum with the perfect solo artist who fit the criteria of both of our mission statements. The community also really embraced the concept of a shared exhibit and it was an easy sell because Robert’s work is so accessible and really draws people in,” said Lesley Herzberg, Curator at Hancock Shaker Village.

“Black Willow Tower” 2014 |mixed media | Robert Hite

“Black Willow Tower” 2014 |mixed media | Robert Hite

In order to make the exhibits two separate parts of one larger experience, each site is focused on a different aspect of Hite’s work: Hancock Shaker Village features paintings and site-specific pieces, while the Berkshire Museum has selections of Hite’s photography and sculpture on display. Both exhibitions will run in tandem through October 30th.

“Having access to the archives and artworks done by Shakers at Hancock Shaker Village has been inspirational,” said Hite. “The artistic impulse born from such a profound and inspired respect for nature informed my approach to the dual exhibition. In particular, I was inspired by the drawings of artists like Hannah Cohoon with her gift of translating trees and nature into icons that resonate deeply with the spirit of life.”

Much of Hite’s work is multi-medium, for example, the creation of small-scale structures which then become the centralized focus in a natural setting and then photographed for museum display.

“Loving Vs Virginia” 2014 | Robert Hite | oil on canvas

“Loving Vs Virginia” 2014 | Robert Hite | oil on canvas

“It is central to my work that the stories that are evoked by the photographs and the sculptures I create are a departure point for viewers to create their own narrative,” Hite explained. “We all have our histories and our perspectives, which I try to leave room in the work for viewers to explore.”

Viewers will get to explore this idea and Hite’s creation process more in-depth on October 27th when Hite visits the Berkshire Museum Little Cinema for a film screening and Q&A of Living on Earth, a documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Okin Khan.

“Prayer House” 2006 | photographic print | Robert Hite

“Prayer House” 2006 | photographic print | Robert Hite

“Another great benefit of working with Hancock Shaker Village and the Berkshire Museum was that I was able to get to know parts of the stunning Berkshires. In addition to working with the wonderful staff at both institutions, I spent a week at MASSMoCA and came to appreciate the unique beauty and deep culture of the region,” Hite expressed.

The Berkshires seem to have been the perfect setting for Hite to explore this key theme of nature.

“How we experience and influence the natural world is germane to my working with icons of dwellings placed in landscape,” concluded Hite. “In the blue-black shadows we cast there is both a positive evolution and a deep pathos. “

Living on Earth is funded in part by Balance Rock Investment Group, the Dobbins Foundation and Guido’s Fresh Marketplace. Take Magazine is a media sponsor.

Jennifer HayesHite in the Shadows