Julia Morison is the queen of segue, shifting quietly between subject realms and between materials usually with richness and graphic grace. We might say that the segue is her signature move, and now it is the title of her latest show.
In this suite of paintings Morison glides between suggestions of the body, in Segue#4 and Segue#5 for example, to more abstract realms of painting. The agency of this is line. In Segue#1 ribbons of black twirl through the painting, twining around a much broader form still of the DNA, line. Drybrushed white over dark enhance this wrapping of form. There is a knot within a knot, checked black and white squares within a larger compositional grid, and movement confined but voluminous nonetheless.
Morison uses squares of (near-saturated) colour in all six paintings to describe this over-riding structural grid, which can at times stop line in its tracks but usually does not. The effect is playful and fun. In Segue#II line broad and black is satisfyingly intertwined with a fine, voluptuous grey line - the former punctuated by dashes of majestic red. All edges are clean. In Segue#VI however, the black and grey lines are treated differently. Both are painted haltingly with a brush, so they feel more quirky, human or of the hand. Therein lies the segue, the magic of this show - as Morison shifts across abstract and figurative languages of painting via marks that suggest the hand to those sharper, more even and machine-like in feel.
Segue the aquatint (with thanks to Kate Unger at Watermark Printworkshop), reverses the visual punch of the paintings. It offers whites in a deliciously dark field. Between electrodes or tendrils of nerve or neuron, there are pathways swarming through the dark. This is a rich, mysterious existence - quite different to the cooler white fields of the paintings. Again, the invitation is to segue between.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.