JULIA MORISON: 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'.
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.