Correspondence

Christine Morrow
Metro Arts, Brisbane

'The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one's eyes). The real foundations of this enquiry do not strike us at all."1

 

Christine Morrow's enquiry into the relationships between objects and images in her recent exhibition, Correspondence, relies very much upon simplicity and on our familiarity with everyday objects-bed linen, sheets of foolscap, computer paper, air mail letters and pillows. Morrow remakes these mundane domestic items, primarily in canvas, and produces work which has a quiet acceptance of both the object, its materiality and the image it produces. Morrow has employed a number of strategies in the re-making of her ready-mades. These strategies range from the double-take mimicry of the sheet of computer paper, Untitled Drawing, to more subtle reminders of objects such as air· mail letters in One Painting, Cleaving and to obvious transformation pieces such as the boat/hat, Hat Paintings. Through their varying degrees of trompe l'oeil Morrow's work invites us to ponder the relationships between objects and images, representation and material. Her gentle reminders of what the eye perceives produces an art that is about looking and not so much at things but rather through them.

In a subtle twist on the tradition of the readymade, Morrow's objects have been carefully re-made, with small creases as signs of this making and of their possible use. On the one hand Morrow has restricted her painted gestures to all but the marks necessary to remind us of an object-the stripes on the sheet of foolscap, the small rose on the billet-doux, the recognizable red and blue stripes of the air mail letter. These minimal gestures give the objects a sense of 'emptiness' which suggests a concern with the dialectic of presence and absence. In choosing to work with the mute readymade Morrow highlights this dialectic: can representation ever make present something that is absent? The mute· ness and emptiness about these works is not sterile, suggesting instead a state of waiting- waiting for use and animation. The single bed, the unwritten letters, the Eva Hesse-like stack of foolscap, the empty bags and the unprinted computer paper are solitary and poignant images. As both fetish and relic, yet also neither of these, Morrow's objects seem to be in limbo. While the recognizable details of these pieces inadvertently remind us of our use of such objects we are made painfully aware that these have not been used. Conceptually recasting these objects in the non-space of our imagination and memory we are caught between the past and the future—as Deleuze has put it, in folded time.2

The Correspondences in this exhibition are subtle reminders of the way we look at objects in our world. They act as punctums in focussing our awareness not only on seeing but also on the emotional attachment and importance we place on objects.3

notes: 

1. Wittgenstein, L., trans. Pears D.F. and McGuinness B.F., Logico-Philosophicus, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1968.

2. Deleuze, G., trans. Conley, T., The Fold: Leibnez and the Baroque, London: University of Minnesota Press,1993.

3. Barthes, R., trans. Howard R., Camera Lucida, London: Flamingo, 1980.