Judy Darragh: Competitive Plastics

Curated by Heather Galbraith

Bringing together a suite of new and recent works by Tāmaki Makaurau-based artist Judy Darragh, 'Competitive Plastics' explores making with your hands, and sculptural making, as critical enquiry. It considers how these processes shape our brains and our bodies. What routes for connection and articulation do they afford us in the 21st century? What draws us back to the tactile, the textured, the patterned; the way things sit, droop, bundle, or wrap?

Principal Exhibition Partner
Exhibition Funders

The exhibition, curated by Heather Galbraith, responds to concepts of ‘plasticity’ and ‘the fold’ explored by French philosopher Catherine Malabou. Lived-experience is changing in a highly industrialised world where work and play blur in ways problematic for wellbeing. How might crafted works offer catharsis and call our attention to urgent issues through unexpected, impolite, and humorous means, and can they address forms of toxicity in our current world.
 
All materials in Competitive Plastics have been found in op shops, discount stores, industrial supply outfits, and brought into conflagration with one and other. Most were originally designed with usability in mind. Monobloc chairs sit alongside mannequin limbs, high heeled shoes and funnels, some are used, others are freshly minted. They are reconsidered, repurposed, upended, stuffed, skewered, wrapped, and layered, with awareness of their material baggage and complicities. The works question our default value systems.
 
Judy Darragh: Competitive Plastics
 and Tender Brick: The Material Epiphanies of Peter Hawkesby are the last exhibitions to be presented at CoCA Toi Moroki in collaboration with Objectspace in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. These exhibitions mark the end of a 12-month programme partnership, which has seen the organisations work together to develop and deliver exhibitions and public programmes. 

Watch an interview and exhibition tour: Judy Darragh on Competitive Plastics
Part exhibition tour and part studio interview, this short video about Competitive Plastics provides insights into the development of the show and Judy Darragh’s practice. Video produced by Objectspace.
 
Heather Galbraith (b. 1970, Tāmaki Makaurau) is a curator, writer and educator. Initially an artist, Galbraith undertook an MA in Curating at Goldsmiths’ College. Exhibitions Organiser at Camden Arts Centre, London for seven years, she had held senior roles at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University, where she is now Professor. Galbraith has a long association with New Zealand at the Venice Biennale, and was Managing Curator SCAPE Public Art, Ōtautahi (2016—2018). At Westlake Girls High School, Galbraith had an inspirational sixth-form art teacher, Judy Darragh.

The Artist

  • Judy Darragh
    Judy Darragh
    Tāmaki Makaurau

    Judy Darragh ONZM (b. 1957 Ōtautahi) is renowned for sculptural assemblages, collage, video, photography, and poster art. During 1980s, Darragh’s trademark, eclectic iconoclasm modeled a critical position in response to rampant materialism and free-market reforms. In 2004 Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand mounted the survey and catalogue Judy Darragh: So... you made it?. Darragh lives in Tāmaki Makaurau and was central to the development of Artspace Aotearoa, and artist-run spaces Teststrip and Cuckoo. She has been an educator and mentored many artists. Darragh is the co-editor of Femisphere, a publication supporting women’s art practices. She continues to exhibit throughout Aotearoa and her works are held in major public collections.

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Judy Darragh
Tāmaki Makaurau

Judy Darragh ONZM (b. 1957 Ōtautahi) is renowned for sculptural assemblages, collage, video, photography, and poster art. During 1980s, Darragh’s trademark, eclectic iconoclasm modeled a critical position in response to rampant materialism and free-market reforms. In 2004 Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand mounted the survey and catalogue Judy Darragh: So... you made it?. Darragh lives in Tāmaki Makaurau and was central to the development of Artspace Aotearoa, and artist-run spaces Teststrip and Cuckoo. She has been an educator and mentored many artists. Darragh is the co-editor of Femisphere, a publication supporting women’s art practices. She continues to exhibit throughout Aotearoa and her works are held in major public collections.

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'Competitive Plastics' Installation View CoCA March 2022, Judy Darragh
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Image credit Sarah Rowlands

'Bite' 2022, 'Crunch' 2021, 'Stroke' 2021, 'Spotter' 2012, Judy Darragh
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'Bite' 2022, 'Crunch' 2021, 'Stroke' 2021, 'Spotter' 2012 by Judy Darragh. CoCA Installation March 2022, Photo Credit Sarah Rowlands

'...see you in front of the flames.' 2020, Judy Darragh
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Image Credit Sarah Rowlands

'Cloak' 2021, 'Para' 2021, Judy Darragh
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Image Credit Sarah Rowlands

'Itch' and 'Foil' detail, Judy Darragh
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Image Credit Sarah Rowlands

'Stiletto' 2020, 'Pelvic' 2021, 'Smoke 2' 2020, Judy Darragh
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'Stiletto' 2020, 'Pelvic' 2021, 'Smoke 2' 2020 by Judy Darragh. CoCA installation March 2022
Photo Credit Sarah Rowlands