Also written by Adam Art Gallery
Organised by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and toured with support from Objectspace Auckland
Christchurch-based Julia Morison is a leading figure in New Zealand art. This installation is the latest in her long series of works that draw on esoteric knowledge systems that redefine materials and images to recode their symbolic connotations. Head[case], comprises 114 unique ceramic heads made by the artist since 2011. Each sculpture is modelled on a hat-maker’s block and demonstrates Morison’s skilful deployment of a range of raw materials and firing processes, from glazed porcelain and clay to oxidised stoneware. Hovering between the surreal and the systematic, Head[case] takes the fundamental attributes of the human head and playfully adjusts them to accentuate and transform the sensory portals through which we mediate our relations with the world and with each other. For this unique realisation, the artist has configured the custom-built shelving system of interlocking hexagons to fit the proportions of the Adam Art Gallery and installed bespoke lighting. Morison’s installation is accompanied by a sound work by John Chrisstoffels.
Julia Morison studied at the Wellington Polytechnic, graduating in 1972 with a diploma in graphic design, and went on to gain an honours degree from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1975. Since then, Morison has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been awarded numerous grants and awards, including the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1989, and the prestigious New Zealand Moët & Chandon Fellowship in 1990, which allowed her to travel to France for a year’s residency. She chose to make France her base for the following 10 years, returning to take up an appointment as senior lecturer of painting at the University of Canterbury (1999–2007). Morison became a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2005. In 2018 she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). She lives and works in Christchurch and is represented by Two Rooms, Auckland and Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch.
The artist acknowledges the support of Creative New Zealand in the realisation of this project.