In 1985 Julia Morison made Hermes,
a painting of a dog/god using two materials, her own disinfected excrement and gold paint/leaf. (Hermes
is in the Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery.) Come 2012, Morison is at it again – conflating the base and the bodily with the lofty and the spiritual. The exhibition is called M(O)USINGS
and Morison has collaborated with her dog named Mouse. Ten of Mouse’s droppings stand vertically within small handmade glass vitrines on a bracket to the wall; and photographs of each are available too.M(O)USINGS
then, is a contemporary riff on Julia’s earlier concerns – a play of the transcendent alongside the utterly mundane.
Dog and God may not be far apart, and M(O)USING O9
, the gilded one, makes this point absolutely. It is both precious and beautiful, right? The big framed photograph takes this quirky relationship of beauty and the everyday a step further. We stand before doggy doo blown up large above a soft looking hemispherical cheek, which has been brushed lightly with Madame’s blush. All is tasteful elegance and handsomely framed.
Mouse’s efforts, apart from a thin coat of polyurethane remain unmodified. Their modeling therefore is random, crimped and shapely. Biomorphic perhaps. And in this latter regard, they recall Morison’s rendering of insulation foam in Angels and Flies
(2002), along with the playful organic forms of No Names For Things No String For
(2003). In other words, while M(O)USINGS
takes us closer to the veterinary laboratory than we might ever have been before, it is familiar territory for Morison. Mouse asks us to play with the aesthetics of anthropomorphism. The works are as always, provocative, thoughtful and stylish. Welcome back Julia. And thank you Mouse.
Ten prints are available of each 'M(O)USING'. Photograph on rag paper. Large 117 x 68 cm (framed), $3,900 and small, 37 x 23 cm (framed), $750.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.