In a career that has spanned more than three decades, Christchurch-based artist Julia Morison continues to astound, pushing both formal and conceptual boundaries to their extremes.
Her extensive practice encompasses a variety of media from painting and photography to sculpture and installation, with each medium selected and experimented to make manifest the ideas she is exploring. It is this attention devoted to materials coupled with a roving intellectual spirit which has taken her into some quite esoteric systems of knowledge that have included Hermeticism, the Kabbalah and alchemy and prompted commentators to codify her work as ambiguous and mystical.
Morison develops systems from systems, building a visual and philosophical language and tailoring them to suit her artistic ends, and in doing so revealing both their richness and constructed nature.On occasion certain themes and symbols reappear in an unfettered unravelling of ideas and influences.
Recent bodies of work have explored and exploited linear narratives,connections, continuity and slippages with works installed in a frieze formation or linked by an unfaltering thread. In her latest suite of works (Myriorama), Morison pulls together several key aspects of her practice, notably a fine graphic sensibility, exquisitely layered surfaces and employs a dynamic system in which the artwork as discrete entity is cast aside in favour of a site- responsive fluidity where works are able to be endlessly reconfigured.
Julia Morison has exhibited extensively within New Zealand and internationally and has been the recipient of many key awards, grants and residencies.Following on from a Diploma in Graphic Design (1972), an Honours degree in Fine Art from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts (1975) Morison received the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1989 and the Moet & Chandon Fellowship in 1990 which enabled her to travel to France for a year’s residency subsequently becoming her home for the next ten years. In 1999 Morison was appointed Senior Lecturer in Painting at the University of Canterbury, was named New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2005 and was accorded a significant survey exhibition mounted by and exhibited at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2006.