In Julia Morison's exhibition Omnium Gatherum: Iteration 5 we stand before a collection, a miscellany of things: things in cages, rubber "wooorms" (that can be worn, we're told) coiled loosely on wall-plugs, and a variety of forms looped and placed about one another within tight painterly confines.
The confinement or imposition of the grid is fascinating. In the cage works, Things yet to be named are anthropomorphically teased out of silk clay and caught, stricken at times in lead wire pens, inside grids. The pleasure of play edged with malice is the order of the day. In the silver paintings a similar mood prevails. The format of these framed works is rectangular, or two rows of three squares each. There are frames within frames and grids within grids - they are the leitmotif of the show. Sometimes they offer superstructure around which line and form are gathered with serious tension. Morison also paints them to suggest depth within the picture plane, while at other times they exist as light touches across a surface, as texture animating the visual qualities of these paintings.
It seems then, that for Morison the restraint of the grid has allowed terrific freedoms. In the silver paintings, form feels visceral, bodily and playful to the point of bombast. Like Dr Suess on steroids, line here is replete in myriad forms - full of movement, hairy details, and even washed with iridescent inks. In the gold paintings, pattern and rich detail shimmer in the lower light of the back gallery. Form is ribbon-like, still linear and sometimes floral, and grounds are often dark; however, surfaces lightly splattered with materials and then sanded back or abraded, bring nuance and variation to the gold palette around them. The effect is sumptuous, opulent and fecund. It's almost like going to church - just a little more arcane.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.