High Wire: Lloyd Jones, Euan MacLeod

High Wire
Lloyd Jones, Euan MacLeod
Massey University Press

Writer Lloyd Jones and painter Euan MacLeod have joined forces to create ‘High Wire’ – a title which traverses metaphysical bridges and tightropes in the pursuit of art. The connection between the pair and their socio-cultural exchanges is a springboard for this unique project that requires them to bravely step out individually on skyward platforms; to keep balance, with freefall being the ever-present reminder of the fragile nature of their collaborative endeavour.

‘High Wire’ is the first in the ‘Kōrero Series’ of collaborative projects involving New Zealand writers and artists to develop dynamic and authentic connections, while working from independent locations. Both award-winning artists hail from New Zealand. Jones, an accomplished novelist, is based in his homeland while MacLeod resides in Sydney, but travels extensively for painting trips internationally.


Absorbing this special book in one session renders a dizzy response; the feet less sure of their foothold, while the mind is opened to new possibilities. As the writer and the artist strive to connect, Jones linguistically explores the unique space of the tightrope, one foot at a time, carefully and sparingly he pivots towards the ultimate goal of stepping onto that thin line in space and turning away from the concept of a bridge as commonplace, where too many have already trod. He writes from his own experiences at the top of the Twin Towers in New York City and also seeks the voice of other explorers with dangerous heights to scale in other destinations across the world. He gives the reader a taste of trekking mountainous coastlines in his homeland. These tales add an emotional depth that is vividly recounted throughout these pages.

The pages are filled with figures wrestling their way along tightropes and bridges, with glimpses of cloudy skies or starry nights and islands surrounded by sea. MacLeod’s artworks impart the immediacy of gestural drawing that he is well known for. The figures are provocative; they dance, play, and balance in mid-air, doing the seemingly impossible and always with the axis turned towards the place of his birth. The Tasman Sea is the vessel, the ebb and flow of this conversation between writer and artist sometimes reaching out, almost touching but also tantalising in its points of separation.