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Home is where the art is

Written by Justin Morrissey

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In 1992, the 2cent piece was removed from circulation from Australian currency. The coin featured a Frill Neck Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii), a reptile endemic to northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. The rationale for removing the coin was that it had outgrown its usefulness – the material was now more expensive to produce than the face value of the coin. It was introduced in only 1966, so had a lifespan and a purpose of not more than 27 years. These coins were traded all over Australia, at corner stores and banks in towns and cities they were deposited in amazing volumes. In its first year of production some $150 million worth were created. For generations born post-1992 these coins will have no value and will be resolved as a historical artefact. I feel a little uneasy with this. I liken the story of the 2 cent piece, if I may anthropomorphous the Frill Neck Lizard emblazon on the coin as a symbol for the Australian environment and in particular the environment in which humans trade.

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The Great Divide, 2015, is a literal play on words and is set up to explore my current home in the Blue Mountains, which technically speaking is a sedimentary plateau and a part of the Great Dividing Range. The work reconfigures the traditional affluent gilded frame into a mountain landscape and signals the divide between the very wealthy and the average Australian, the 4 (6)

Mules (2014, p.1) refers to the human nature relation thus ”The fundamental threat facing humans today is our inability to live in a non-exploitative relation to the natural world.” In the relatively short settlement of Sydney by european settlers, by 1984, 79.8% of north-western Sydney had been cleared and several significant areas since then destroyed (Antcliffe, 1988). Approximately 1% of Western Sydney is reserved for conservation (Benson, 1991; Cohn & Hastings, 1994). As acclaimed German artist Joseph Beuys commented to Richard De Marko in 1982 in response to his infamous artwork 7000 Oak Trees, “I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.” As he states the “tree” has always been seen as symbolic of life itself.

The series of works, Copper and Bark Studies #1-7, 2016, seek to find a harmony between the extruded copper; mined, rolled and sold, with bark collected from the forest floor. The bark is soaked for some time in a glass jar until it becomes malleable like the copper and the copper informs upon the bark its shape and form. The bark dries and becomes rigid again.

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In Growth Domestic Product, 2016, I weave the copper strips through found bark to create a tartan pattern, perhaps mimicking a clan group of Irish immigrants ancestors past. The title suggests that we overlook the “growth” or decline of nature when we look at our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is an indicator of the “health” of a country’s economy. If it is incline the country is prospering and vice versa. However it only takes into account job creation, industrial production and output such as mining, housing figures where houses are bought or sold. Brewing your own beer and growing your own vegetables doesn’t equate. If we were to include planting trees and cleaning up waterways what would our true ‘Growth Domestic Product’ be?

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Antcliffe, P 1988, Birds and Mammals of North-western Sydney. Masters Thesis, University of Technology, Sydney.

Cohn, J. & Hastings, S. (1994) The Conservation of Native vegetation Remnants in Southern Hawkesbury City Council Local Government Area. NSWNPWS report to Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Save the Bush Project m208.

Mules, W 2014, With Nature: Nature Philosophy as Poetics through Schelling, Heidegger, Benjamin and Nancy, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.


Weekend Notes – Writer

Justin has been writing for Weekend Notes for only a short period of time – you can view his work by clicking below: 


You will find articles about what is happening around Brisbane, Queensland and Australia wide. If you’ve got an interesting event or scoop you’d like to promote, please contact Justin to write about it. 



BNE ART – Writer

In 2014, Justin began covering the art scene in Brisbane for BNE ART

BNE ART is an independent digital visual arts guide. The information network is updated with the latest events and opportunities, alongside current local arts information. The platform is available through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, iPhone, Android and the Web.

BNE ART is a live-archive resource and access point for the online public wishing to learn more about Brisbane’s visual arts sector. With the purpose of audience development and education, BNE ART continues to develop into a more resourceful, critical and functional tool for a local, national and international audience.

This initiative has been supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and is proudly produced by Vegas Spray ARI.

Check out the link below for more info:


Multiplatform Producer in Residence

In 2013, Director of Salem Art Works Anthony Cafritz, invited Justin Morrissey to attend a very special artistic residency program in upstate New York.

Every individual who experiences Salem Art Works becomes integral to the voice and meter of this Upstate art colony. Simultaneously, the SAW experience is life changing for many people who take part, whether as an artist in residence, young artist, community member, or workshop participant. Without the confines of limitation, an openness is created, expanding what is possible.

SAW maintains a flexibility in programming, opportunities, and workshops in order to allow accessibility to all individuals and groups.

Justin, undertook several studies, music, film and sculpture which culminated in a recording of 3 original compositions.


To commemorate 100 years of service to Queensland, Justin Morrissey created this overview of their commitment to the superannuation industry. The project involved many hours of research at the QLD State Library and the National Film and Sound Archive.


Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Reimagining Roy McIvor was held at the Cairns Regional Gallery as a part of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in September 2013.

A unique exhibition of works by Hope Vale Indigenous artist Roy McIvor will be presented for CIAF presents in August 2013 at the Cairns Regional Gallery. The exhibition will feature bark paintings and artefacts brought up from the Queensland Museum, which were created in the 1960′s. The exhibition will also feature new work by the 78 year old artist.


Reimagining - Stills -Roy McIvor - lino cut dancing crabs

Justin Morrissey was the Multiplatfrom Producer – Curator for the exhibition and digital content.


Reimagining - Stills - Roy McIvor -Burn Off