Review of the exhibition New Works at Gallery of Photography, Dublin, by Aidan Dunne, ‘Visual Arts’ Irish Times Magazine, March 23, 2005, p12.
Trish Morrissey’s Seven Years at the Gallery of Photography, is a fantastic exhibition. It is a complex project that must have involved a huge amount of meticulous research and planning, but it couldn’t be simpler in its finished form. With her elder sister (the title refers to the age difference between them), Morrissey set about recreating a number of archetypal family snapshots – various family members at the beach, by the garden wall, by the front door. She and her sister play all the family members (both real and imagined, an accompanying note mentions intriguingly). Having scoured family attics and charity shops for clothing and props suitably redolent of the 1970s and 1980, she made a remarkable set of images that are both familiar – we can all identify with such photographs – and disturbing.
They are disturbing because, although the images are of exceptionally good quality, they invariably look wrong. It’s not the fact that her sister will appear as a man in one image and a child in another that jars. In fact it’s amazing how readily our eyes accept such incongruities when the trappings are right. It’s more that a feeling of sadness, perhaps related to the passing of time and the discontents of family life, pervades the atmosphere.
In any case, they are photographs that hold our gaze with almost hypnotic power. There are also two video pieces, one of them showing as well in EV+A. In it, two women in wedding dresses dance in a fairly grim back yard. In the other, a boy chases but never catches a rabbit around a suburban garden – a piece of symbolism that is heavy handed compared with everything else in the show.