Before the quakes, we thought of our Outer Spaces programme as something extra – a nice complement to all the art going on inside. At present, however, with the building still occupied, the Outer Spaces are our Only Spaces, and any new addition to them counts for a lot more than it might have a year ago.
Returning to the city this week after some time away, it was a kick to see Julia Morison's new mural on the carpark Bunker. It was also a bit shocking to realise how many months it had been since I stood in front of a new artwork – in fact any artwork – on show here at the Gallery. The buzz of seeing new art appear is not just a perk of the job. It's the reason many of us got hooked on gallery work in the first place. And it's turning out to be a hell of a long time between drinks.
Anyway, the mural is one of the most abstract paintings Julia has made in a long while – a work that connects as much with her terrific sharp-edged early Rhombus works as it does with her recent skeins, loops and flourishes. Nonetheless, Christchurch viewers keen on finding quake connections shouldn't have to hunt too hard. The diagonal passage where the two circuits meet and 'flip' feels distinctly tectonic to me, a fault running through the composition. And the colour choice ought to make any Civil Defence worker or inspecting engineer nod in recognition. As seen on a thousand hard-hats and reflective vests, it's high-visibility green.