Review of exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne by Dan Rule, ‘Around the Galleries’, The Age, February 13th 2010, p20
There’s nothing passive about UK-Based artist Trish Morrissey’s performative, humourous and ultimately affecting works. Featuring two videos and two series of photographs, this concise though expounding survey adopts a series of formal, familial and historical tropes, only to pick them apart at the seams.
The video work Ideas of Refinement, Principles of Taste references the story of a long-suffering Melbourne settler wife and artist Georgiana McCrae. We witness Morrissey calmly eating a sandwich seemingly oblivious to the swarm of flies that crawl and buzz around her, eventually swallowing one without reaction. In Seven Years meanwhile Morrissey and her elder sister re-create their family photos from the ’70s and 80s in and around their former family home in Dublin.
Perhaps the most rewarding are the casual beach portraits of Front, in which Morrissey transplants herself into strangers’ family gatherings, posing in the role of the mother, while appointing the woman she replaced as the photographer.
The series is almost disquieting in its believability. What makes Morrissey’s work impressive and convincing is its multiplicity. She doesn’t just comment on family and femininity and photographic mode; she steps inside and embodies the formal and cultural archetypes. These are as much family portraits with Morrissey, a stranger in them as they would be otherwise.