Louise McRae, Cimmerian Rhythm

open: 10am-3pm Tuesday to Saturday, until 15 July

location: grey, 37 Scanlan Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Louise McRae’s exhibition takes its name from an ancient, mythical people said to have inhabited a land of overwhelming, perpetual darkness. There is a ritualistic, almost atavistic quality to her process - the splitting and painting, the burning and rebuilding - which calls to mind age-old philosophies around purification and renewal.

McRae talks about destruction and reconstruction and finding meaning in the process of reconciling these exploded parts. But the axe and the flame do not solely destroy; they also open up the process to chance and allow the natural characteristics of the wood to sing. The heat of a fire gives the wood a unique texture and a velvet-black surface which is a perfect counterpoint to areas of rich colour or iridescent foil. When split, shards of wood break along the curvature of their grain, forming the contours that bring movement to the finished pieces.

The finished works paradoxically speak of human impact, labour and repetition, but also of the forces of nature and patterns of growth in the natural world.