City Gallery

Past event

Meditations: Julia Morison in Conversation with Dr Anna Smith and Dr Kirsty Baker

Saturday 18 May, 1pm

Made in extended response to the work of Hilma af Klint, Julia Morison’s Ode to Hilma presents an ambitious new series of paintings alongside her 2022 work, Vademecum II, staged in the same gallery where af Klint’s ‘the ten largest’ were exhibited in 2021-22. Join us to hear artist Julia Morison in conversation with Christchurch based writer Dr Anna Smith, and curator of the exhibition Dr Kirsty Baker as they consider the thematic resonances between the work af Klint and Morison’s five-decade long investigation into the power of artistic forms and materials to hold symbolic meaning.

Julia Morison  

Julia Morison’s ongoing practice – incorporating painting, sculpture, photography and installation – is consistently underpinned by a complex symbolic system. She frequently works within self-imposed parameters, whether numerical, material or organisational.  

Her vocabulary is inspired by esoteric and spiritual sources, such as Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, and memory systems. Morison’s work has come to represent her own intellectual order through an interweaving of symbol, material and philosophy, re-interpreting or reviewing for a contemporary context. Morison’s work invites us to reflect on the ways structures manipulate the way we see things, with her interpretations offering a metaphor for other such systems and encouraging us to consider systems themselves.   

Much of her artistic exploration probes into the ways that meaning can be shaped and reconfigured through the use of ten symbolic materials, from clay and ash, to silver and gold. Fascinated by the ways that we systematise our understanding of the world around us, Morison draws on a range of knowledge systems, from the arcane to the contemporary.  

Recent exhibitions include; Live another day, Nadene Milne Gallery, Christchurch, (2023); 3(.)6 degrees of separation, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, (2022), Hindsight, Trish Clark Gallery, (2022), Omnium Gatherum: Alembic, Sumer Gallery, Tauranga, (2021), All That Is Solid Melts, Auckland Art Gallery, (2021) and Head[case], Tauranga Art Gallery, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, Sargeant Gallery, Whanganui, (2021) Objectspace, Auckland (2020) and Christchurch Art Gallery, (2019). 

Dr Anna Smith 

Dr Anna Smith first taught Women's Studies and English at the University of Otago from 1989-1992. She then worked in the English Programme at Canterbury from 1993-2017. She has taught in a variety of fields including literary theory, drama and children's literature and film. Since retiring, she has continued to write art criticism and fiction. Her latest work, a novel intended mainly for young readers, is provisionally titled The Littles. She also is a tarot reader and is interested in the origins of this ancient card game, as well as studying the archetypes it embodies.

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