Friday, August 7, 2009

Exhibitions: JP Morrison at Pearl Gallery

A Beguiling Blink
By guest blogger Janice McCormick
Blink and you would have missed J. P. Morrison’s one day show at Pearl gallery in Tulsa on July 29th. Consisting of seven works, J. P. explores the fantasy life of young women. Two particularly outstanding pieces, “Sphinx” and “Through the Looking Glass,” demonstrate her meticulous execution and magical vision.

Far removed from the inert Egyptian “Sphinx” monument, Morrison’s “Sphinx” (colored pencil and acrylic on board) bristles with dynamism. She achieves this quality by balancing opposing forces in both content and composition. A pale nude woman languidly curls across the shoulder of a snaring tiger. Her long dark red hair and outstretched arm rest motionless on its head. The tiger’s leg and paw come straight down in front of her naked thigh. Its invisible claws pose no threat to her. Inextricably, a circle of water rests between the gaping red jaw and paw. Streaks of water flow from the tiger’s leg to her abdomen. The nude’s eyes are closed, as if she is asleep, dreaming she is that tiger. The thrust of the arm, left and downward, to the tip of the tiger’s nose is counterbalanced by the arc of her curving back that pulls the eye back toward the right. All this takes place against a black background – most appropriate for the metamorphosis that takes place both in dreams and the realm of the imagination.

“Through The Looking Glass” captures the facial expression of “Alice” frozen in fear and trepidation at some off-canvas sight or some event about to transpire. Her white mask sits on top of her head revealing her eyes – eyes that stare out from under the mask’s shadow. One hand is brought up to her mouth as if she is chewing on a fingernail. The fingers are so angular that they almost are contorted into a claw. Here the mysterious element is the white-hot circle of light at her breast. Perhaps, given the title, it stands for the psychic mirror she is about to enter, while the mask is her naïve persona about to be abandoned.

As these two works exemplify, J. P. Morrison provides a strong psychological insight into the fantasy life of young women. These seven works will be seen at The Base Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri from August 7th through September 26th in an exhibit entitled “ Beguiled: The Folklore of

View J.P. Morrison's blog at

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