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Wildlife sculptures bring London to life
Leopard Stalking, 2012.

LONDON.- Internationally acclaimed artist Hamish Mackie will present a solo exhibition of new works at the Gallery in Cork Street from 7th October 2013. His distinctive sculptural depictions of animals have earned him a reputation as one of the world’s foremost wildlife sculptors and this exhibition will be a culmination of three years’ work dedicated to his subject-matter.

Mackie has created nearly 50 new works for this triennial exhibition, ranging in size from small guinea fowl to life-size camels. Though his passion began with British wildlife, the artist has travelled widely in order to closely observe a diverse range of animals in their natural habitat.

In 2011, he was invited on an expedition cruise to Antarctica with polar experts Ice Tracks and had the “invaluable opportunity to study and sculpt some of the planet’s hardiest wildlife within their pristine rugged environment” Mackie was particularly fascinated by the albatross he encountered on South Georgia, and was much affected by the fact that 19 out of 21 species of this bird are currently threatened with extinction. In his depictions of them, the artist captures the majesty of the animal, conveying both their magnitude and their vulnerability.

By contrast, Mackie has also travelled to Dubai to study camels, as well as completing a series of dynamic cheetah and leopard sculptures after tracking them with Africat in Namibia.

The exhibition will also showcase British wildlife including otters, deer, game birds and bulls. For the latter, Mackie has not only studied the living animals, but has also looked closely at carcasses in order to gain a deeper understanding of their composition. “For me a knowledge of anatomy is fundamental… Once I had the bull’s anatomy in my head I was able to sculpt the bull series without interruption.”

It is a combination of this careful, compassionate, observation and obvious delight in his subject that allows such vitality in the finished works. As Lucie-Smith comments, “it is not enough simply to observe – he has to fuse himself with what he observes, …his animals always seem to be on the move, or ready, at any moment to move.”

Working closely with the Lockbund Sculpture Foundry in Oxfordshire all the pieces are cast using the lost wax method in either silver or bronze using a ceramic shell as limited editions.

The quality of this casting allows the artist’s manipulation of the clay to remain clearly visible in the finished works, so that even a fingerprint can be seen. This is integral to the artistic process as Mackie’s work is reliant on the virtuosity and spontaneity of his gestures “to capture what can only be a momentary vision.”

Mackie has previously staged a number of successful international solo exhibitions, perhaps the most notable being his 2012 show at Mallett in New York. Last year his work was also selected to be displayed in Grosvenor Square and Oxford Street as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Mackie’s work is held in the collections of both corporations and private individuals around the world.

Through his sculptures he also helps to raise funds and awareness for charities including Tusk Trust, and the Countryside Alliance. The artist comments: “I have always been passionate about wildlife and one of the great advantages of what I do is being able to observe nature in its own environment. Through my work, I hope to highlight not only the beauty of our natural world, but also and perhaps more pertinently, how fragile our relationship with it is becoming.”

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