Monday, February 13, 2012

'Meet me on the other side'...




10 FEB 2012 – 25 MAR 2012

Julia Morison's evocative post-quake sculptures and 'liqueurfaction' paintings return to Christchurch for a special showing in a gallery space overlooking the inner-city 'red zone'.

Something, for example

Laconic thing

On Sunday HB and I met in the wasteland that is the back of Madras Street - 
to catch up and venture into the Ng Gallery. 'Venture' in more ways than one, because the gallery is upstairs in the old Bain's building, on the very edge of 
the inner-city cordon and therefore of some quake-concern. 'Venture' also 
because, as the images above suggest, it was not likely to be an easy viewing experience. 

In fact, we both loved the exhibition and became increasingly animated as we 
circled the amazing, cavernous gallery space - stark white painted brick walls, 
black wooden rafters, black earthquake bracing and natural wood floor. At the 
far end of the gallery room, as much a part of the experience as the works within, 
 a view across what was once the bustling heart of Christchurch's Madras, 
Manchester and High Streets' retail area. 

Julia Morison's works unsettle, challenge, seduce, subvert. They are (in some 
cases) ugly and elegant at the same time. Justin Paton calls them "fantastically, wonderfully ugly". They make the familiar (ironing board, bird cage, plastic 
shopping bags...) strange and uneasy. As HB eloquently put it, we view such 
objects through a 'Janet Frame' filter. 

Liquefaction stars. But is transmuted. A liqueuer collection, lost to silt, is reborn 
in ten paintings with such names as...

Monochrome in liqueurfaction: silt and amaretto
Monochrome in liqueurfaction: silt and black sambuca
Monochrome in liqueurfaction: silt and cherry brandy...

Melted plastic bags exude, threaten to escape the containers which cannot 
contain forever. The medical/experimental implications of the two works 
illustrated above unsettled me, made me slightly queasy. But together, HB and 
I went to 'the other side' and delighted in the shared journey. The two lovely 
gallery guides enhanced our discussions and asked us to spread the word - encourage Christchurch people to seek out this gallery in the wasteland space 
and engage with...whatever may be found there.

And finally, from Leonard Cohen, via Glenn O'Brien by way of Justin Paton...

there's a crack in everything,

that's how the light gets in.


  1. Mmmm---ugly and elegant---like Mr. Bold of last post :-)

    These works of art are truly "something." Loved the titles of the works.
    The healing power of art never ceases to inspire me---that, and how tragedy can coax the art from the human spirit!

  2. One of the post-quake delights Deb has been the unexpected 'installations' that pop up on empty sites. A piano for anyone to play, a fridge full of books for people to borrow and replace, a petanque court in Lyttelton... Now I look out for the unexpected and scarcely (well...) notice the yawning gaps.

  3. A music hall---a library---a sports arena! How wonderful.

  4. They look fascinating. I make black sambuca :) It's PG's favourite drink.

  5. I've never had it (that's NOT a hint!).

  6. Nevertheless .. you might to get sample the almost black liquid. I shall look out for NG thankyou.

  7. Anyone who likes licorice has got to be of good stock! Clear sambuca has long been MY fave---but then, I didn't know there was a "black." Thought that was just a poetic interpretation.

  8. :-) The story behind the liqueurs... Julia must have had a liqueur collection in her studio (also her home) - as you do!! In the Feb quake the house/studio suffered badly from liquefaction, the liqueurs toppled and mixed with the silt. The resulting paintings (not pictured here) are literally 'liqueurfaction'!!

    So sambuca is licorice. Ooh, something 'devilish' about an almost black liquid!

  9. Licorice and aniseed. We have it with ice and lemonade. Very pretty black purple colour.

    We LOVE eating licorice yum yum yum :)))

  10. Hi Jane .. chk the flower post :)