JULIA MORISON | In hindsight

Extended until 24 December 2022

    Trish Clark Gallery is pleased to present In hindsight, a richly layered and dense survey of Julia Morison’s works spanning more than four decades. There are few artists working in Aotearoa New Zealand whose work so aptly suits the descriptor ‘embodied knowledge’; always highly inventive conceptually and materially, Morison elicits a potent physical connection between her work and the viewer. This rare opportunity to engage with the artist’s work across time, including some previously unseen works, reveals Morison’s deep complexity, her capacity to push formal and conceptual boundaries and to challenge conventions and dominant trends. Running from 8 October – 19 November 2022, the exhibition’s last days are timed to coincide with Aotearoa Art Fair.

    Now 70, Morison has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and internationally. A graduate of the University of Canterbury Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1975, she was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1988 and undertook the year-long Moët & Chandon contemporary art Residency in Epernay, France in 1990, where she continued to live and work until her return to Christchurch in 1999 to take up the position of senior lecturer in painting at her alumna university, a position she held until 2007. Appointed a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2005, Morison’s practice was also the subject of a major survey exhibition, jointly organised by the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, in 2006-07: A loop around a loop: Julia Morison. Her work was included in the 9th Biennale of Sydney: The Boundary Rider (1992); KP5 Biennale: Jardins Secrets at L’hopital Charles Foix, Paris (1999); the 2nd Auckland Triennial: Public/Private: Tumatanui/Tumataiti at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki (2004); and the 17th Biennale of Sydney: The Beauty of Distance, Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (2010); and her notable collaboration with Australian designer Martin Grant, Material Evidence: 100-headless woman, was seen at Judith Clarke Gallery, London (1998), Artspace at the Adelaide Festival (1998), and Selfridges, London (1999). Her works are included in all major New Zealand public Collections, and she was appointed an Officer of the Order of New Zealand, Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2018.

    Morison’s use of a spectrum of materials has tested our assumptions and associations – for decades she has worked with substances as varied as blood, excrement, gold, lead, clay, wood, hair, beeswax and rus, finding expression across a variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture and installation, always eschewing easy categorization with multiple points of formal and symbolic return throughout her oeuvre. Consistent has been the investigation and testing of existing systems of ordering and systematizing form and content – from Euclidian geometry, the legacies of constructivism and formal abstraction, through to interrogation and re-imagining of alchemy, number symbolism and in particular the Jewish mystical tradition called Kabbalah. How she draws upon or extrapolates from source materials is never slavish – the potency and veracity of a sign or symbol is something to be tested and toyed with.

    Her powerfully evocative response to the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake reveals Morison’s fluidity of approach and intellectual acuity and rigour. Re-purposing the all-destructive silt shrouding her home and studio, combined with found / rescued / transformed objects and furniture, she presented all in the potent touring exhibition Meet me on the other side. We are pleased to now present four of these works in In hindsight.

    As noted curator and writer Justin Paton has stated, “Morison’s use of her sources is creative, and wilfully idiosyncratic – she calls them ‘a skeleton you can spin off from’ – one of the pleasures offered by her art [over] decades, is watching her system mutate and ramify in unpredictable ways”.


     EyeContact review of exhibition →

    Link to artist’s page →

    • Installation view
    • Head[case], 117- We have an issue, 2018
      glazed porcelain
      290 x 145 mm
    • Installation view
    • Gargantua's Petticoat, Oolala, 2006
      acrylic on aluminium polythene laminate
      2400 x 2400 mm
    • Installation view
      Flipside: 5, Flipside: 6, Flipside: 1, all 2015
      acrylic and ink on canvas
      each 1200 x 1000 x 20 mm
    • Installation view
    • Head[case], 093 - Reconstructing Golem, 2018
      glazed stoneware
      dimensions variable
    • Head[case], 028 - Olfactory whispers, 2015
      glazed stoneware, rope, wool
      290 x 370 x 200 mm
    • Things yet to be named 8, 2018
      silk clay & metal mesh lead
      100 x 100 x 100mm
    • Missing thing, 2011
      bird cage, table, plug & silk cloth
      540 x 480 x 280 mm
    • Installation view
    • Installation view
    • Installation view
    • Centrefold 15, 2000
      ‘Dragon’s blood’ ink and pastel on bible paper
      175 x 230mm, framed 320 x 365mm
    • Installation view
    • Decan, Eternity, 1989
      oil on wood
      2770 x 3800 mm
    • Installation view
    • Curious thing, 2011
      recycled plastic, stool, cement and silt
      1240 x 400
    • Vademecum II, 009, 2022
      gold leaf on sheet lead
      210 x 297 mm
    • Installation view
    • Angel/Fly, Print - Carapace, 2002
      unlimited digital print
      120 x 100 mm
    • Angel/Fly, Print - Raiment, 2002
      unlimited digital print
      120 x 100 mm
    • Installation view
    • Installation view
    • Accessories for a Soft Machine, Apertures 1, 1987
      photographed collage
    • Installation view
    • Installation view