Julia Morison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1952

Teaching Aid# 1: Appropriate brushes for large flower paintings

  • Purchased, 2008
  • String, plaster, resin, galvanised pipe and set of ten wall labels
  • 620 x 590mm
  • 2008/032.1-10
  • 2001

A teaching aid is something that a teacher uses to enhance learning. When she made this beautifully absurd work, Julia Morison was teaching art at the University of Canterbury, reacting to the bureaucracy of the university while simultaneously inspired by what she described as her students’ “willingness to engage in serious play”. Here, a collection of gigantic paintbrushes has been assembled for a lesson about how to paint a truly monumental work. The work’s subtitle – Appropriate Brushes for Large Flower Paintings – acknowledges a predominantly female art tradition usually conceived on a much smaller and more intimate scale. While the ‘brushes’, coated in paint, have splayed out to resemble giant exotic blooms, they also look like floor mops, gesturing towards another historically even less valued tradition of ‘women’s work’.

(We do this, 12 May 2018 - 26 May 2019)