Alasdair McLuckie’s art may retain traces of distant histories
and cultural practices, but its roots are closer to home.
The various strands underpinning Melbourne artist Alasdair McLuckie’s practice might seem disparate at a glance. On the one hand, the 30-year-old’s boldly designed and intricately embroidered beadworks can be traced back to Native North American weaving techniques; methodologies that McLuckie learnt from his father, an avid collector of tribal arts and artefacts. On the other, his Picasso-esque drawings and sculptures – rendered in biro pen on recycled bookbinder’s board and cobbled together with electrical tape – are at once fastidious in their detail and considerably lo-fi in their materiality. His strikingly economical collages, meanwhile, read like exercises in spontaneity and at times humorous anthropomorphic form. But the references and formal threads that define McLuckie’s work – which, in the last six months, has shown as part of both Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria and Future Primitive at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and seen him win the QANTAS Spirit of Youth Award – aren’t without a compass. And they all tend to lead back to the same place.
Much has been made of your beadwork’s cultural and historical bearings. How did it come to permeate your practice?
I got into that after seeing my dad engaging with it himself. In my second year of art school, I eventually just asked him if he would teach me how to do it. He had made himself this tiny little loom, which was really beautiful. So he taught me and the first pieces were made on my dad’s little loom. The more I engaged with art history in university, the more I... Subscribe to read this article in full
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