Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Here's a review from Peter Dornauf of the

Morison show in Hamilton.

Julia Morison: Myriorama #3
Ramp, Hamilton
3 September – 4 October 2008

The work of Julia Morison has always dabbled in a high degree of mystery and the esoteric, incorporating in earlier days, a fascination for the imagery of alchemy and even Jewish mystical traditions.

In a real sense, that has never left her. She has never forsaken the play, at a basic and generic level, with Kabbalistic lore, or at least the pictorial trappings associated with it.

But things evolve. Her show, currently at Ramp gallery, Waikato PolyTech, might on first glance seem to have little to do with this trajectory. Called Myriorama #3, the work itself is based on a Victorian parlour game, miles away from any spiritual grounding. Yet the construction of the piece, an installation that fits in a continuous frieze round the walls of the gallery, in its netting of complicated abstract swirls, its Celtic type interweaving tracery, does have a family resemblance to matters that have preoccupied Morison on and off for some time.

What is interesting about the work, is it sits in that ambiguous position, midway between something which looks like a 1960’s electric toy race-car track and something out of an acolyte's manual that might speak of possible ascent through the ten powers, or sephiroth. The secular and religious play off against each other in a delightful frisson of postmodern slippage and shuffle, turning stones into bread and back again.

Besides all that, it is simply beautiful to look at and immaculately constructed.

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