Project Description


Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite

This dual-site exhibition was on view at Hancock Shaker Village and Berkshire Museum June 30 through October 30, 2016.

Experience the engaging and intriguing photographs, paintings, and structural installations of Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite on site at Hancock Shaker Village, and in the galleries at Berkshire Museum in this first-of-its kind collaborative exhibition between the two Pittsfield organizations!

Robert Hite is an accomplished 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. His images have an engaging, intriguing ambiance, created by the way he captures the three-dimensional structures as they are placed in nature.

Visitors to both sites will experience a full range of the artist’s work. 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 iconic 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. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the exhibition at each location, situated just five miles from each other in the city of Pittsfield.

At the Berkshire Museum, visitors will see a number of Hite’s large photographs featuring his hand-built structures and dwellings, placed out-of-doors into the landscape and photographed in such a way as to confound the viewers’ sense of scale. Many of the images incorporate water or mist, creating a sense of mystery with a softening of lines and angles. Hite’s cottages and cabins, many on stilts, have a lopsided, somewhat ramshackle air to them, as if nature is slowly reclaiming the buildings.

Living on Earth is co-curated by Lesley Herzberg, Hancock Shaker Village curator, and Maria Mingalone, director of curatorial affairs and collections at the Berkshire Museum.

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

About the artist

Robert Hite was born in 1956 and grew up outside of Bowling Green, a small town in rural Virginia. He has traveled in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and South America. Hite 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 the Washington Color School painter Leon Berkowitz, and enjoyed success in the nineteen-eighties and early nineties as an abstract landscape artist in Washington, D.C. In 1997, Hite and his family moved to Esopus, New York, 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. Hite was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014.




Opening Reception at Hancock Shaker Village

Thursday, May 26, 4 – 6 pm

Join artist Robert Hite for a walking tour of his newest site-specific sculptures at Hancock Shaker Village.

Artist talk and Opening Reception at Berkshire Museum

Thursday, June 30, 5 – 7:30 pm

5 pm: Imagined Histories — Robert Hite gives an illustrated artist talk about his creative process of construction, choosing the right site, and finally photographing his sculptures in the natural world.

6 pm: Artist’s Reception in the exhibition Living on Earth in the Ellen Crane Memorial Gallery.