01 NOV – 01 DEC.2018
A solo exhibition by Judy Darragh
The renowned Judy Darragh presents a solo exhibition of recent works under the name, EYELINER. Using her signature palette of lurid pop colour (applied in a variety of mediums or pre-existing in found objects), Judy’s assemblages create new commentary about what should be old issues. Spontaneous, complex, and witty, EYELINER is a visually bold and politically relevant conversation to be had.
Emerging as an artist during the 80’s, Judy initially began her practice as a hobbyist collector of second-hand-store goods such as mirrors and lamps. Manipulating these found objects, Judy began selling the readymades at markets before realising them as art. To the unfamiliar eye, this assortment of photographs, paintings, and sculptures may appear quite random however of course, this is not the case. Judy points to the human body; arms, legs, hair, eyes and genitalia. Amusing and deceptively simple, Darragh’s works ask us to consider art making materials, methodologies of making, and gender.
Flimsy chains, like those found in cheap jewellery stores, punch themselves through painted canvas, whilst objects of mass production are fastened by paint and silicone. EYELINER features ping pong balls, vinyl and billiard balls as Judy reaches through the plethora of materials under her command demonstrating assuredness and playfulness. Pulling from her extensive collection of ornaments, relics and low-cost vernacular materials, she creates her assemblages. These ornamental and kitsch materials subvert modernist values whilst Judy simultaneously seats herself next to audience. We are all familiar with these objects, and they carry rich histories.
Seeing, vision and eyesight are central to EYELINER and are referenced throughout the exhibition in works which lean in slightly different directions. The window box sees Power; a pair of florescent hands with prisms in their palms alongside Globall, a crystal ball of prisms. Judy references the idea of seeing into the future whilst near by assuring us of that impossibility. Cracked rests against the wall, a mirror masked with aluminium tape which provides a hazy reflection at best. As she moves on to increasingly gendered works, it seems this future might be Judy’s utopian world.
Across the gallery is EYELINER herself, a circular canvas with an electric blue eye constructed from plastic and a painter’s palette. Wide open she references sight and the communicative visual powers of the artist. We use EYELINER to outline and accentuate the eye, as it is when experiencing sexual pleasure. Facing her is Muff, an assemblage of faux fur from jacket hoods curling around a sparkling object and sitting proudly next to Dad, Pissed.
Not far from here, the Ball and Chain series hangs. Crudely constructed from chains, billiard balls and silicone the works are comparatively small in mass. Despite this, they radiate masculinity, occupying the same space as the sculptural works as they protrude from the wall. Of course, they reference the derogatory term a man might call his partner, whilst simultaneously looking a lot like him.
Celebrating the everyday, Judy reworks outcasts of consumer culture through thoughtful and intelligent pairings, placements and arrangements. She asks us to reconsider our modus operandi, but also at a macro level. Dynamic, engaging, and visually diverse, EYELINER employs common materials to reawaken us to ourselves.
Judy Darragh has been part of countless exhibitions throughout the country. She is a teacher, a writer and a speaker who has had an enormous impact on contemporary art practice in Aotearoa. Thank you to both Two Rooms Gallery and Jonathan Smart Gallery for your support of Judy’s exhibition with Weasel gallery.