In I was there in Arcadia, Alastair Mackie draws on man’s relationship with nature, challenging our awareness and convictions about the boundaries that separate the two.
His first solo show since Not Waving but Drowning in 2009 at the David Roberts Art Foundation, the exhibition opens with three taxidermy display bell jars which have been transformed in to mirroring structures. Upon first view, we are faced with our own reflection. But as our eyes become accustomed to the light, we are able to peer through the mirror and in to the enclosed chamber. The ghostly apparition of a bird of prey is revealed, then lost, as the eye continually struggles between the surface reflection and the hologram-like image cradled within.
Further on, are four delicate spherical sculptures displayed under glass cases. Upon closer inspection, the surface turns out to be intricately composed of hundreds of perfect mouse skulls. The bones were collected and processed from regurgitated barn owl pellets found in disused farm buildings in Cornwall. On the adjacent wall are four photographs depicting each of the sculptures reunited with their place of origin, the cycle from nature to culture complete.