There’s something about destruction which draws our eye and holds our attention. New Zealand artist Louise McRae plays with this; her work is a beautiful collision, a stunning work of destruction.
Artbay Gallery is excited to announce Louise McRae’s latest art exhibition in our Exclusive Exhibitions space, 18th January – 16th February 2018. Her previous show of abstract artworks sold out – so art fans and collectors need to be in quick!
Destruction is at the core of Louise’s artworks, which are created from scrap timber salvaged from New Zealand’s booming construction industry. Louise paints loose land, sky and seascapes onto the wood scraps then burns and smashes the scenes into shards and reconstructs them with a keen feeling for form, shape and placement.
On an aesthetic level, her artwork is a reference to the distortions and unconventional perspectives of cubism, but the artworks are also deeply moving. The careful modulation of colour and surface across Louise’s panels is captivating, its effect akin to the perceptual experience of optical art. This experiential aspect is key to uncovering the spirituality in Louise’s work; she began to paint after personal tragedies in her life left her feeling “like a partly formed character - wandering around in a dystopian land.”
“I wasn’t entirely sure if I was still on earth or if I had been dropped off on some other desolate spot in the universe […] I knew I needed to express this thing that was beyond words...I began to paint....”
At first, Louise had no money for canvases, so she painted on discarded boards found in a hallway. The wood scraps also held an ancestral connection for Louise, who is from a line of loggers, makers and pioneers. At first, her paintings remained intact, but she became frustrated with their ‘niceness’ and attacked the paintings with an axe, finding the process cathartic and meditative.
“I’m messy and clumsy by nature, I have always broken things by accident. It’s a family joke… but now I was breaking with purpose, it felt good. An honest response to the world of ‘perfection,’ a world that I had never been able to master.
“The paintings got cut and split into shards and during the process of putting the painting back together something happened, a kind of alchemy, I made something exciting. The new artwork was shattered and broken but way more interesting and beautiful.”
It is perhaps this honest, emotional and spiritual aspect of Louise’s work which strikes a chord with the many fans of her work. The reconfiguration of shattered images reminds us that destruction can bring new beginnings.
“Breakdown to breakthrough. As terrifying as chaos can be, it is full of hope, of opportunity to make something new... these works are a manifestation of opportunity from collapse. They use a discarded material, a painting is made, destroyed then remade.”
Louise McRae’s exhibition, entitled ‘No Ordinary Sun’ runs 18th – 31st January 2018 at Artbay Gallery, 13 Marine Parade, Queenstown. To see more of Louise’s work online click here.