Julia Morison takes the picture frame as the driving component rather than afterthought. The results are anthropomorphic slippery things sliding between painting and sculpture, image and object, inside and outside. These things, each with a personal given name, comprise her most recent exhibition, 2000 Grounds for Error.
Created from the salvaged frames from her Christchurch Studio since the 2011 quake, these white, perfectly plastered constructions, filled with imagery, both erotic and mysterious, promise rich content and yet evoke the evacuation and emptiness of the red zone in Christchurch. These works become a metaphor for a no-man’s-land, a place of subtle emptiness, expressed fittingly in the words of John Donne as “A bracelet of bright hair above the bone”.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, with text by Dr Anna Smith, an excerpt below:
In our culture, white can be auspicious; in others, funereal. 2,000 Grounds riffs on the gradations of white on white; of subtle creams and a dusting of blush, of hyperbolic pink and a rare greenish-black the colour of meconium. Fifty-one objects with nothing cute about them. Sylus, Angelina, Elmer, Odo, Vader, Chad, Buster, Candy, Dolly, Xavier Odessa, Rodor, Hortense: were it not for their playful names, we would be in Snow Queen country, where the soul freezes, where snow-flakes have the hard beauty of mathematical equations; and where Kaye will remain forever unless Gerda can sing him awake. So what is it about this swarm of frames that flock the gallery space like swollen white insects; that mount the walls in drifts, an avalanche waiting to happen?
Throughout an illustrious career, Julia Morison’s practice has encompassed a diversity of approaches and materials, making works using artificial systems and structures that affect the way we see and understand the world we live in.
She has exhibited extensively in public and private galleries throughout New Zealand and internationally. In 1988 Morison was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship and in 1990 the Moet & Chandon fellowship and art residency in Epernay, France. She continued to live and work in France until her return to Christchurch in 1999. In 2005 she received an Arts Foundation Laureate award. In 2006, Julia Morison: a loop around a loop, an important survey of her work, selected by Justin Paton and Felicity Milburn, was presented in Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery. She was included in the Biennale Of Sydney 2010, with a major work installed at the Sydney Opera House and was inducted into the Massey University Hall of Fame in 2012.