Alasdair McLuckie

27 November 2015 By
Alasdair McLuckie, 'Untitled', 2015, Woven and embroidered glass seed beads on wool, 51 x 38cm. Image courtesy the artist and Siegfried Contemporary.
Alasdair McLuckie, 'Untitled', 2015, Woven and embroidered glass seed beads on wool, 51 x 38cm. Image courtesy the artist and Siegfried Contemporary.

Siegfried Contemporary, based in the private home of Andreas Siegfried in Notting Hill, is currently hosting the UK debut solo exhibition of Australian artist Alasdair McLuckie (b. 1984). The show, entitled Nine Times Modern Man and Moon has been developed in partnership with mother’s tankstation, Dublin, and features several of his serial-based works including bead paintings and ballpoint pen drawings on binders board.

In contrast to the arduous and intricate craft methods McLuckie employs in the development of his work, his finished works are bold and defined. The pleasing aesthetic of his simple graphic forms, combined with his characteristic use of bold and bright colour, create an instantly engaging and attractive visual presentation. The ethnographic and traditional craft themes behind the pieces are also immediately apparent when observing the work.

Alasdair McLuckie has been exposed to antique art and craft traditions from a young age: his father was an amateur anthropologist who has a collection of ethnographic artefacts derived largely from North America. Whilst studying art, McLuckie found himself disillusioned with current Western practices, or his perception of them, and instead looked to the familiar ‘primitive’ and folk art practice his father had taught him for inspiration. From there he began to produce his characteristic woven beadwork pieces.

McLuckie’s defined and confident productions demonstrate an intimate connection with material and method. His beading designs demand extreme discipline and an intense understanding of craft technique and tradition that goes far beyond simply making ethnographic observations of folk tradition. He connects the process-driven, cyclical way he uses the loom to the organic processes and rhythms that exist in nature, something that becomes particularly apparent when viewing his works in series.

McLuckie has absorbed himself in the meticulous practice so completely that it has become his own language and artistic identity. This level of immersion in an ancient craft is rare and unique; he is not simply mimicking, borrowing or looking back at tradition, but is creating a new story for the craft whilst also developing his own practice. Interestingly, McLuckie does not begrudge descriptions of his methods as ”primitive”, a term often seen to have negative undertones, but instead considers primitivism as romantic reference to a new encounter with old practices.

Alasdair McLuckie studied Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. His most recent solo shows include: House of Joy/Hello Ladies’ at Chapter House Lane, Melbourne, in 2015 and Two lovers sit on a beach dreaming at the night sky as the waves wave hello to their eternal moon friend, who smiles and waves right back at Murray White Room, Melbourne, in 2014. His current exhibition at Siegfried Contemporary has now been extended until 15 December 2015.