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Judy Darragh's STAINLESS Opens at The Dowse

Author: Rachel Healy, Communications Manager
After visiting the LA Car Museum, Auckland artist Judy Darragh was so taken by the folly, and failure, of the DeLorean car, the time machine in the 1985 movie Back to the Future, she was inspired to create an exhibition based around its 'wonder material'. In the Silbery Longrun season of Stainless, from 7 July, Darragh has created a playful, shiny world of make-believe that features intriguing, pulsating objects.
Judy Darragh, detail of Stainless, 2010-2011, found stainless steel domestic ware and steel rod stands. Two Rooms. Photographer Jennifer French.

Judy Darragh, detail of Stainless, 2010-2011, found stainless steel domestic ware and steel rod stands. Two Rooms. Photographer Jennifer French.

Largely using stainless steel kitchenware, Darragh strips colanders, bowls and measuring cups of their domestic role to form works that are not what they seem. Judy Darragh has long held a concern for the flagrant waste of the consumer society, and a passion for reusing and restoring unwanted materials in surprising ways. She is interested in the constant desire for abundance as well as ideas around failure, in manufacturing as well as our personal lives.

"We live in a society where everything has to do with success, and failure is rarely discussed. But what if we are wrong and what if our museums and lives are full of things that are deemed successful on incorrect merits?" she says.

Stainless steel, often described as the wonder material of the 1970s, is most often associated with the male-dominated worlds of medicine and science. In Stainless, Darragh takes objects and imagery associated with women to invoke masculine interests of another kind. In a folly of flora, springy structures sprout from the floor like a meadow of flowers but in fact allude to bombs, satellites and engine prototypes. A dazzling wall of metallic mirror blooms, (actually made from plastic) take on a spooky sci-fi, alien-like appearance.

Born in Christchurch, Judy Darragh 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 many major collections including Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna O Waiwhetu, Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery, and the Govett Brewster in New Plymouth. In 2004, Te Papa hosted So... you made it? a major retrospective exhibition and publication. Darragh has been involved in the development of ARTSPACE, Auckland, Teststrip, the independent artist run space, and Cuckoo. Darragh is represented by Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch and Two Rooms, Auckland.

For more information on the gull-winged Delorean car see www.deloreanmuseum.org

Stainless will be exhibited in the annex off the Silbery Longrun Gallery at The Dowse.