February 11 - March 12, 2014

Judy Darragh




Judy Darragh has run her visual microscope over society for decades now. In the 90's, her kitsch aesthetic and provocative use of found (or second hand) objects knowingly parodied high art and good taste.

In this show Autopsy, which is a compendium of work from the last year, there are strong similarities but things have evolved. The bright fluoro colours remain, sprayed and brushed over found PVC advertising banners. In Doctor for example, a work commissioned for the Pornography Show (Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, November 2013),  a centrefold from Hustler magazine is given the Darragh treatment - mirrored (both literally and in Rorschach fashion), splattered, painted and stickered. The image is totally interfered with, doctored not quite gynaecologically, and made all but unreadable.

SCI FI #4In Sci Fi #4 however, Darragh's concerns are strictly painterly - perhaps more so than ever before. Warm colour contrasts with cool, strong diagonals take our eye to a single vanishing point, and various layers of sprayed and dribbled paint (along with mirror glass) counter that recession with lines layered strata-like to emphasise a vertical flatness - that of the traditional picture plane.

Walk This Way (detail)The new sculpture Walk This Way plays with similar formal concerns as it sweeps off the wall on to the floor. Wound fabric and different profiles of metal offer variations in mass and form within a folded linear structure. And again, fluoro colour visually punctuates this work in a surprisingly elegant, almost restrained manner. Walk This Way engages space with pleasure.

Two large photographs of begging cards - one seeking spare change, the other a home, work and food - round out Darragh's show. As a new thread within the oeuvre of an artist as socially aware as Darragh, these should not surprise. But visually they are unlike anything she has made before. With proceeds of sale going to Auckland's City Mission, Darragh is continuing to comment upon the community in which she lives - a dissection that began with her use of pink phallic jelly moulds in the late 1980's (quite literally as empty as the neo-liberal patriarchal politics they symbolised), and a critique which continues to the present day.

SCI FI #5     Any Spare Change     Seeking Employment



Details of works

Walk This Way,  aluminium, tape, paint & bandages,  dimensions variable
SCI FI #4,  paint & mirrors on PVC banner.  2400 x 1530mm
SCI FI #5,  paint & mirrors on PVC banner.  2400 x 1530mm
Doctor,  tape, paint, mirrors, digital print on PVC,  1/1,  1200 x 2400mm
Any Spare Change (International Beggar Series)  digital print on PVC, 1/1, 2200 x 1500mm
Seeking Employment (International Beggar Series)  digital print on PVC, 1/1, 2480 x 1500mm

All works are from 2013