My ART | Artist: Judy Darragh

Artist: Judy Darragh

Artist: Judy Darragh

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

I’m looking at a lot of art on the studio walls and a vast collection of empty cigarette packets. On my desk: Women’s Work  a magazine edited by Alison Knowles and Annear Lockwood from 1975-1978 of text based and instructional performance scores from 25 women artists. Also, the front page of the Auckland Herald February 29th, 2020, with the headline “New Zealand’s first Coronavirus Case PANDEMONIUM“, irresponsible journalism which put the country into panic.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

Meret Oppenheim, Object 1936 (Le Dejeuner en Fourrure); a fur covered teacup saucer and spoon. I remember seeing it as a small black and white reproduction at high school (all my looking at art was small, blurry, black and white) I appropriated it later using a plastic cup and saucer and florescent fun fur, then I saw it for real at MOMA and it blew my mind. I believe it was the first surrealist object made.

What’s next?

The unknown …everything is in limbo I’m not sure how the cultural landscape will look, I don’t think it will be business as usual for a while. In June I was going to work with a group of sound artists at Karekare in relation to sound artist Annear Lockwood, then a show in Christchurch in September may still go ahead. Sean Kerr and I are continuing to work on a real time digital work Sleep on it , which we showed at Two Rooms last year. Imogen Taylor and I have one more Femisphere to produce so we are thinking of ways to respond to the new unknown post lockdown.

They say don’t waste a crisis. I’m involved with a group of art makers who have formed Arts Makers Aotearoa Kahui Ringatoi Aotearoa as a way to work toward change and sustainability for creative members of our community, this is needed now more than ever. Check out our website

What could you imagine doing if you weren’t an artist?

I love teaching, so still a teacher but maybe another subject. I love working with students talking about art and ideas, if not that, then maybe a florist?

Who is your ideal studio buddy?

My cats Coke and Pepsi

What are you reading?

I have just read Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel about painters Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler, post war women artists who broke through expressionism and modernism despite their male counterparts.  Also just finished Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici,  a dense rethinking of capitalism and women’s bodies. I’m now reading her next book Beyond the Periphery of the Skin, a series of essays around the same topic.

What is art for?

Right now, the art landscape will see big changes with the recession and high levels of unemployment, but maybe this is where art flourishes? With no overseas travel possible for some time, maybe a strong grassroots local arts culture will emerge. Maybe art can be more important to us than ever.

We are two weeks into lock-down – recommend something/s to read/watch/listen to?

Walking around the hood and listening to silence, birds and the rustle of leaves is good.

May, 2020
Judy Darragh ONZM is represented by Two Rooms, Auckland
Photo: Imogen Taylor