A Southern Highlands based artist born and trained in the United Kingdom with childhood memories of growing up in South Africa, Lucinda McDonald’s practice is informed by her skill in welding, her acute appreciation of revitalising existing forms, and a similar sense of displacement from living in various countries. Constructing sculptures from offcuts and discarded pieces of steel, McDonald works instinctively to reclaim and rejuvenate these seemingly unwanted objects, creating subconscious yet harmonious tension between movement and stasis, colour, line and weight. Her exhibition in Gallery 2 at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery is an exploration of the rhizome of experiences, memories and interactions that have brought McDonald to a refined and contemplative moment in time.
‘Connections’ is a body of work that is expressive of both the physical, emotional and psychological in-betweens that are crucial to the development of the object, as well as the artist. Having been born in the United Kingdom, McDonald moved with her family to South Africa at the age of five, staying for over thirteen years. At nineteen years of age, she returned to the UK, living in London and Bath to study visual arts and photography, eventually attending the Chelsea School of Art and Design. Across the road from Tate Britain, and a stone’s throw away from Saatchi Gallery, this was physically fertile ground for a young artistic mind to grow in. Her fellow alumni being female sculptors such as Rebecca Warren and Helen Chadwick, McDonald’s intense dedication to form seems almost inherited through osmosis, but the connections are present.
In 1995, McDonald extended her skills by attending a fabrication and welding course at a North London college. She then worked as a welder for various fabrication workshops, assisting in the production of works from the Young British Artist collective. Her move to Australia in 2001 brought on a multitude of new connections – an antipodean shift in physical space, a cultural shift, and most importantly, a shift towards focusing on her own practice.
Describing her process, McDonald tells of branching out in multiple directions, often working on multiple projects at any given time, before one thought pattern emerges and grows into a strong, well-investigated body of work. Her wall-hung pieces developed between 2019 and 2020 are an example of these investigations – careful consideration of the way individual objects work together aesthetically create something new, with its own unique rhythm and characteristics. For work that is highly abstract, the sensitivity to colour and repetition of form eludes to an almost synesthetic experience, with tones and shapes becoming melodious.
With her expanded artistic practice encompassing collage and painting processes, McDonald utilises a broad aesthetic approach to composition across disciplines and dimensions. Furthermore, her ability to commit to this aesthetic, and express it gracefully through a medium that requires negotiation and concentration is exemplary of her willpower as an artist – something carefully honed through experience since adolescence on the other side of the world.
Exhibiting alongside Alex Seton, this is McDonald’s inaugural solo showing at the Gallery. She was a finalist in the 2018 Goulburn Art Award and has shown her work across the region in a variety of interior and exterior spaces.