John Hiigli passionately believed in art as an educational tool. As a young artist living in New York City in the late 1970s, his duplex studio space doubled as a French-English preschool, where children modeled clay and painted alongside him as he worked on his own canvases.
Hiigli often painted complex constructions of shapes, including diminishing Golden Rectangles and polyhedrons embedded within one another. To describe the volumetric relationships of the shapes and create an illusion of deep space, he developed a strategy called “color deferral,” in which selected planes are left uncolored and others change color at the point where they enclose an adjacent structure.
“I was inspired to create the transparent hyper-cross in an attempt to disclose the beautiful symmetries of its very simple (x-y-z) structure.”
- “Farewell to John Hiigli, our mentor and friend” (Experience Workshop, 2017)
- “A Couple That Live in a Nursery School — By Choice” (New York Times, 1978)