PITTSFIELD — "Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite," a solo show of sculpture and photography, co-presented in a special collaboration between Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village, opens Thursday at Hancock Shaker Village and on June 30 at Berkshire Museum.
The dual-site exhibition will be on view through Oct. 30.
Hite will lead a walking tour of the exhibition during a two-hour opening reception this afternoon at 4.
Hite also will attend an opening reception at the Berkshire Museum, beginning 5 p.m. on June 30.
Co-curated by Lesley Herzberg, Hancock Shaker Village curator, and Maria Mingalone, director of curatorial affairs and collections at the Berkshire Museum, the Hite exhibition is the first in a planned series of shared exhibitions set to explore the indoor and outdoor settings of the two venues.
Hite is an a painter, sculptor, and photographer whose work often includes components of all three disciplines. He creates small-scale structures, dwellings and living spaces, many of which then become central to his photographs once they are sited in the landscape. Hite finds inspiration in the ever-present influence of nature and the narrative tradition of his Southern upbringing.
Hancock Shaker Village will showcase two major site-specific installations and 4 to 6 other pieces of the artist's sculpture in the out-of-doors, amid its gardens and buildings. A selection of Hite's paintings will be on view in the Poultry House Gallery.
Berkshire Museum will present an indoor gallery of Hite's photography and sculpture within the Art Deco Crane Room.
In addition to the artwork on view at the two sites, a full schedule of artist talks, workshops, and a film has been planned.
"We (HSV and BM) had been looking for a collaborative exhibition opportunity for a few years, and when we met with Robert, we knew we had found the right artist that could respond to the missions of both museums in such a thoughtful and creative way," says Herzberg in a news release from Berkshire Museum.
"If you were to imagine yourself walking into a Robert Hite photograph or stumbling across one of his clapboard structures while rambling along a trail in the woods, you may feel as though you are witness to a long-forgotten narrative, or thrown back into the traditional rural American South," Mingalone comments in the same news release. "The work lives within the realm of evocative pictorial storytelling."
Hite was born in 1956 and grew up outside Bowling Green, a small town in rural Virginia. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.; the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.; and studied ink brush painting in Malaysia. He worked as a studio assistant for Washington Color School painter Leon Berkowitz and enjoyed success in the 1980s and early '90s as an abstract landscape artist in Washington, D.C.
In 1997, Hite and his family moved to Esopus, N.Y., a small town in the Hudson Valley where he converted an 1840s Methodist church into his home and studio.
Hite has shown his work widely, including a solo show at The Nassau County Museum of Art. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014.
"We are thrilled that this exhibit has come to fruition this summer and hope that our visitors enjoy Robert's art as much as we have enjoyed working with him to create this show," Herzberg says.