Posted on

Judy Darragh

Judy Darragh

Artist Profile: Judy Darragh

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache

LOT23, 26th July 2018

Irrepressible. Irreverent. Iconoclast: Judy Darragh trawls modern day detritus to create assemblages and installations which engage deeply with pop culture, toying with ideas around gender, cultural norms and humour.

“I am interested in making repetitious silent, simple and reductive filmic moments. I use moving image as a non-narrative, repeating short sequences to undermine the expectation of time passing. Like a photograph, an analogue moment is stretched over time and gets glitched and stuck on repeat.”

A mainstay of our contemporary art scene, Darragh has been widely exhibited across Aotearoa since her emergence during the conspicuous consumption of the 80s era. Born in Christchurch, she completed a Diploma in Visual Communication and Design at the Wellington Polytechnic and has taught at tertiary level for many years. Her works are held in various major collections including Auckland City Art Gallery, New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster and Te Puna O Waiwhetu, Christchurch. In 2004 the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa featured a major retrospective of her work curated by Natasha Conland and entitled ‘Judy Darragh: So … you made it?’

Darragh has been pivotal in the establishment of multiple New Zealand art institutions including ARTSPACE, Teststrip and Cuckoo – an initiative that organises shows in various galleries or spaces. She is represented by Two Rooms Gallery and Jonathan Smart Gallery and her book Arts Society: Judy Darragh was published in partnership by Te Tuhi and Clouds Publishing.


Darragh is renowned for her multi-disciplined and multi-media works in which she reinvents existing materials to critique cultures of consumption and subvert societal norms. Her installations alter public spaces with exuberant effect, playing with the intersection of kitsch, sci-fi and domestic life. Colourful, viscous, visceral; her works are known for their bold aesthetic. Incorporating media ranging from bottles, glassware and plastic to corks, foil, fluoro wigs, foam, silicon, folded paper, feathers, tikis, beads, paint, flowers, stickers, paua, cake tins and furniture, Darragh alters form and function of her found objects to construct new meanings and contexts. It is this process of reimagining that is most significant, and alluring. To wander through one of her collections is to be drawn into a world in which the familiar shifts wryly into fetish or fantastical.

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

More Judy Darragh! Courtesy of Two Rooms Gallery.