Menu Content/Inhalt
home arrow artists arrow Judy Darragh & John Pule


February 11 - March 12, 2014

Judy Darragh


Judy Darragh has run her visual microscope over society for decades now. In the 90’s, her kitsch aesthetic and provocative use of found (or second hand) objects knowingly parodied high art and good taste.

In this show Autopsy, which is a compendium of work from the last year, there are strong similarities but things have evolved. The bright fluoro colours remain, sprayed and brushed over found PVC advertising banners. In Doctor for example, a work commissioned for the Pornography Show (Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, November 2013),  a centrefold from Hustler magazine is given the Darragh treatment – mirrored (both literally and in Rorschach fashion), splattered, painted and stickered. The image is totally interfered with, doctored not quite gynaecologically, and made all but unreadable.

SCI FI #4In Sci Fi #4 however, Darragh’s concerns are strictly painterly – perhaps more so than ever before. Warm colour contrasts with cool, strong diagonals take our eye to a single vanishing point, and various layers of sprayed and dribbled paint (along with mirror glass) counter that recession with lines layered strata-like to emphasise a vertical flatness – that of the traditional picture plane.

Walk This Way (detail)The new sculpture Walk This Way plays with similar formal concerns as it sweeps off the wall on to the floor. Wound fabric and different profiles of metal offer variations in mass and form within a folded linear structure. And again, fluoro colour visually punctuates this work in a surprisingly elegant, almost restrained manner. Walk This Way engages space with pleasure.

Two large photographs of begging cards – one seeking spare change, the other a home, work and food – round out Darragh’s show. As a new thread within the oeuvre of an artist as socially aware as Darragh, these should not surprise. But visually they are unlike anything she has made before. With proceeds of sale going to Auckland’s City Mission, Darragh is continuing to comment upon the community in which she lives – a dissection that began with her use of pink phallic jelly moulds in the late 1980’s (quite literally as empty as the neo-liberal patriarchal politics they symbolised), and a critique which continues to the present day.

SCI FI #5    
Any Spare Change     Seeking Employment



Details of works

Walk This Way,  aluminium, tape, paint & bandages,  dimensions variable,  $10,000
SCI FI #4,  paint & mirrors on PVC banner.  2400 x 1530mm,  $9000
SCI FI #5,  paint & mirrors on PVC banner.  2400 x 1530mm,  $9000
Doctor,  tape, paint, mirrors, digital print on PVC,  1/1,  1200 x 2400mm,  $9000
Any Spare Change (International Beggar Series)  digital print on PVC, 1/1, 2200 x 1500mm,  $4000
Seeking Employment (International Beggar Series)  digital print on PVC, 1/1, 2480 x 1500mm,  $4000

All works are from 2013
Prices include GST.



Atua Cowboys

February 11 - March 12, 2014



Not averse to a bit of cowboy himself, John Pule spent six months as writer-in-residence in the English Dept at the University of Canterbury during the second semester of 2013. Whilst in Christchurch composing short stories and editing new poems, time out comprised the occasional second-hand shop rifling through boxes of old records. In his sights were albums from the 50’s and 60’s – covers selling Polynesian music with pretty girls and dreamy landscapes, anything suggesting the Church and the divinely inspired, and good old personal favourites like Maria Callas, Strauss, Kamahl and Harry Belafonte.

The City Slickers Visit Hawaii 
This collection became Atua Cowboys, with each cover having a word or phrase in Niuean (and sometimes English) added by Pule in red oil-stick over the top. The commentary is mostly humorous: Callas sings Te Po, Belafonte is simply Atua, and a suspiciously Asian looking young Hawaian woman is mei lei. In other words, fictions of advertising and representation are playfully exposed. At other times, Pule is more mischievous, particularly around institutions such as the Church. The Incomparable Mormon Choir (the Church in which Pule was baptised) is labelled Atua Cowboys, an Anthology of Christian Poetry and Prose is associated with ejaculations, and CHCH Boys’ High (A School Makes Music) becomes a School of Scientific Racism.

The Incomparable Mormon Choir 
Christchurch Boys High  An Anthology of Christian Poetry and Prose

So it is an idiosyncratic and light-hearted collection. But it is typically Pule in the conjunction of image and text, its searing indictment of the place of the Church in the Pacific, and its obvious love of women. For Pule, theirs is glamour both real and imagined, deeply alluring, and often wondrously fictional.
Fresh and Fancy Free  
South Pacific 
Swan Lake

All works in this series are oil stick on found record covers, signed by the artist verso.

The Canterbury University Press is delighted to announce the publication of a new edition of
The Bond of Time: An Epic Love Poem, by John Puhiatau Pule. The Bond of Time is an 88 page epic poem composed as a lyrical address from a lover to his beloved, and is also Pule’s love song to Polynesia. The Bond of Time will be launched at 5.30pm Thursday 27th March 2014, by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman at Te Ao Mārama, located on Arts Road, University of Canterbury, Ilam.
Copies of the book will also be available at the opening of John Pule Print Launch, 5.30pm Friday 28 March, at Papergraphica, 192 Bealey Ave, Christchurch.