Robert Hite’s Gorgeous “Imagined Histories” Earn him a Guggenheim Fellowship
This moody, mysterious black and white archival pigment print was created by photographer Robert Hite. The whimsical, stilted structure was crafted by the photographer and photographed in a densely wooded area. Dramatically illuminated from the back, which produces a halo effect, the structure appears eerie and off-balance yet simultaneously exhibits a sort of ramshackle charm. The melancholy atmosphere is reinforced by the heavily vignetted image and the deep shadows cast by the trees.
About the artist:
Though Robert Hite's work deals in abstraction, images of structures, dwellings, and living spaces have become central to his pieces. Hite now works in photography, painting, and sculpture, although they often intersect through common imagery and sentiment. In 1997, Hite and his family moved to Esopus, NY, a small town in the Hudson Valley where he converted a 1840’s Methodist church into his home and studio. There he has created a productive artistic space for himself, and sometimes others.
Selections from the Imagined Histories series incorporate whimsical architectural structures into the reality of the valley’s landscape. Hite builds small constructions in his studio resembling houses and towers and then places them in various locations near the Hudson River in Upstate New York. The result is a unique style of storytelling, opening up possibilities of exploring multiple narratives suggested by each image.
With a studio converted from an old Methodist church in a village of Esopus, New York, Robert Hite has placed himself amongst the subject matter he is most drawn to: simple clapboard homes. Through painting, photography, sculpture, or a combination thereof, Hite depicts the shacks and sheds of the marginalized communities he observed during his childhood in the American South. As a child born in 1950s Virginia, Hite observed racial discrimination and the handmade homes of impoverished, disparaged members of his local community. Hite has traveled to Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean to document patchwork homes and interact with their residents, once even trading new stainless steel for the rusted metal roof of a shack in Mexico, which he then incorporated into a sculpture.
American, b. 1956, Virginia, based in Esopus, New York