Wallkandy talks to Lucy Mclauchlan
Rathbone Place is currently playing host to one of Birmingham’s most intriguing contemporary artists, Lucy McLauchlan. The word delicate has often been used by critics when describing Lucy’s work, however such a description would be misleading for the current show, Together, which displays a robust confidence that has underpinned a collection that is arguably her strongest body of work to date. Already planning her next artistic trip to the Fame Festival in Italy, we managed to catch up with Lucy for a brief chat.
Busy as ever, you recently got involved in the annual Cure Leukaemia Art Auction by donating the ‘Sit Down’ piece of art. This was part of your collection depicting man-made objects that due to their nature could and often do outlive their makers. How did you get involved in this charity and what was the inspiration behind the initiative for this collection?
I’ve been submitting work for the last couple of years now. The Cure Leukemia Appeal is an ongoing national project based at Birmingham’s QE Hospital to care for and research to find a cure. The Centre for Clinical Haematology (here in Birmingham) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence that brings treatment and research under one roof. Recently a friend of mine has been diagnosed with Leukemia so it has become even more important and relevant for me now. More information can be found on their website; www.cureleukaemia.co.uk
The chair seat ‘Sit Down’ was part of a collection of inanimate non-biodegradable objects that I painted faces on to act as a reminder that by consuming them we are effectively accepting a ‘life’ that now shares this earth with us, whether in use or when disposed of. The reuse of these objects that can and do outlive their makers has been a steady progression since visiting metal work factories in Birmingham that are closing down. Witnessing the craftsmen create their last work that due to the material will definitely outlive them is very poignant.
You’re exhibiting at Lazarides London for the Together solo show during July and August. This exhibition has revealed a noticeable development in your work. Can you explain where this collection has come from, what has been the core inspiration for it?
This show reveals some of my cluttered existence. The clutter that I carry around and am surrounded by – concerns, future worries, fading memories and the physical clutter, all weighing me down resulted in the installation where I’ve gathered parts up to form one overwhelming mass crushing some poor soul. I also utilised paper and reclaimed wood to paint my ‘clutter balls’ and the exploration of their effects. Looking back at the work I think moving my studio into the garden led me to use colour and to be more free and loose, escaping the confines of the studio to spread out under the open wide expanse of sky. I like painting outside, it feels more natural…there we go, I’ve just pin pointed my pigeon hole – the most asked question…I’m not strictly a ‘street artist’ and only an ‘urban artist’ by default that I live in a city but I’m an outdoors artist…I just enjoy to work outside.
You’ve previously mentioned that ‘it’s amazing to experience how others interpret your work with fresh eyes’ How nervous do you get before the launch of a solo exhibition and how do you tend to react to peoples critiques of your work?
I was referring then to the physical interpretations, but either way is interesting as I can never view my own work with completely fresh eyes. Before a show I feel more uncomfortable than nervous, revealing what was once hidden. I have found criticism can inhibit you but it can also completely release you. Probably best to take everything with a pinch of salt though. Especially compliments. I like to remember what Sister Corita Kent taught, “there’s no win and no fail, there’s only make”
So what have you got lined up in the near future?
Well I was hoping for a few days to rest my wrist after the show opening but no chance. Have just finished painting some walls in London and now am off to Italy for Fame – which is looking amazing this year. Then it’s time to give Birmingham a little love and attention before heading off to Lithuania, (the slightly less glamorous) Coventry and then the Gambia. I’m not so good at updating my website but I will try to…
Thank you Lucy McLauchlan.
1st July – 12 August 2010Lazarides Rathbone 11 Rathbone Place London W1T 1HR www.Lazinc.com