At RAMP Julia Morison will present an exclusive version of her continually changing exhibition Myriorama, the third permutation of this work. The first was presented in Christchurch at 64zero3 in April; the second at Two Rooms in Auckland.
A 'myriorama' is a Victorian parlour card game of specially printed small landscapes that can be horizontally repositioned to create imaginary panoramic vistas. Morison has seen connections between it and some of her past projects, and so devised her own version, inventing a restricted vocabulary of shapes which can be repeated and hung in different combinations.
Morison's Myriorama has various modules that can be joined together. The various forms consist of flat semi-circles, quadrants, curved trapeziums, bullet noses, u-shapes and more. Each of these shapes has at least one straight edge that can be butted against any straight edge of another so that the internal parallel lines link up. When two or more (sometimes a lot more) forms are combined they acquire unexpected spatial depth. Planes start to bend into the wall or curve out; shapes tucked into corners take on strange ballooning properties; right-angled intersections flatten out and vice versa.
Most of the shapes have been layered with pale grey gesso onto which black parallel lines have been placed, mimicking the contours. The stripes are a development from Gargantua's Petticoat, an earlier project where they were positioned directly on the walls to link up the modular configurations.
Over these striped surfaces Morison has put thin washes of ink. Their hue subtly varies, sometimes appearing as violet, other times grey or green. Within the pinstripes are tiny microcosmic worlds, minute land, cloud and seascapes that you have to peer between the lines to see. Delicate, miniature, panoramic Myrioramas hiding inside the larger abstractions, waiting for the viewer to discover.
Born in 1952, Morison lives and works in Christchurch. Morison has exhibited extensively in public and private galleries throughout New Zealand and internationally. In 1988 Morison was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship and in 1990, she undertook a Moet & Chandon contemporary art residency in Avize, France, and continued to live and work in France until her return to Christchurch in 1999. She has received several grants from the New Zealand Arts Council and in 2005 was made an Art Laureate. In 2006, Julia Morison: a loop around a loop, large survey selected by Justin Paton and Felicity Milburn, was presented in Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery.