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Alastair Mackie - Untitled (Sphere)

Artist's Proof, Mouse skulls, wood, glass, courtesy the Artist and All Visual Arts, London

Alastair Mackie - Untitled (Sphere)

Artist's Proof, Mouse skulls, wood, glass, courtesy the Artist and All Visual Arts, London

Untitled (Sphere)

Artist's Proof
Mouse skulls, wood, glass
Courtesy the Artist and All Visual Arts, London

The owl, having swallowed its prey whole, slowly digests the nourishing, softer parts. It then regurgitates the indigestible bones, feathers and fur in the form of a pellet. To create his sculpture Alastair Mackie extracts mouse skulls from the pellets. With meticulous craftsmanship he turns this natural product into an object of fascination, beauty and scientific curiosity. A hint of the initial violence lingers in the fragility of the work.

Dissecting owl pellets is a common pursuit for children who grow up in the countryside. In the serious and learned surroundings of the Inner Library, this piece acts as a nostalgic reminder of childhood.

“I'm interested in systems – a complex whole formed from related parts…the owl pellets are a material that I became aware of living in the countryside as a child. I was interested in what these little packages represented in terms of much bigger things – life, death, regeneration and so on.”

Alastair Mackie

Alastair Mackie's complex practice is often labour-intensive but the result is almost always disarmingly simple. The artist brings order to nature's chaos by reconciling the formal with the conceptual, thereby challenging our deep-rooted sense of separation between the manmade and natural world.

In his most recent body of work the conceptual aesthetic of minimalism is reconsidered through the use of natural materials. The transformation of states of being is at the heart of Mackie's practice, which leads to a new perception of the natural world that surrounds us.

Alastair Mackie's solo exhibitions include: I was there in Arcadia, All Visual Arts London, 2011, Mimetes Anon and Not Waving But Drowning, both in London in 2009. He has also taken part in group exhibitions in many different countries: his work has been shown in Athens, Los Angeles and Milan, as well as in South Korea. Mackie's work is widely collected.