Julie Rrap’s major new series of photographs, Loaded, involved casting a series of shoes in frozen coloured inks – white, yellow, blue, red, green, black – which were worn by Rrap in a performance over several weeks. The shoes became painting instruments as they melted on a large canvas leaving their mark as remnants of the artist’s evolving outfit. In a surprising inversion, the foot is privileged over the hand in an undressing of gestural abstraction and its associated myths.
In addition to the melting shoes, Rrap utilises readymade colour in the form of objects as transient accessories in the developing painting, taking the viewer through her process from white to black. As well as harnessing colour, the objects are allegorical suggestions of the artist’s presence via her absence – her expired breath, her discarded clothes etc.
In making Loaded, Rrap combined both a ‘rational’ structure and a more intuitive element in which she let the image ‘direct’ some of the scenarios that developed. The accumulated images became the ‘key’ to the artwork.
Loaded, via its story board format, suggests that all images are loaded, never innocent. This is partly because, as art, image making becomes culture and in this transition becomes self-conscious of its secret life, the ‘loadedness’ of interpretation, context and meaning.
Julie Rrap has been a major figure in Australian contemporary art for over three decades. In 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney held a major retrospective of Rrap’s work titled, ‘Body Double’ (curated by Victoria Lynn), and in 2011 the Lismore Regional Gallery held a solo show of her work, titled ‘Julie Rrap: Off Balance’. Rrap was included in the ‘Australian Show’ (1988) which toured to the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany and major museums in Japan. Other significant group exhibitions include ‘Systems End: Contemporary Art in Australia’, which toured Japan and Korea in 1996; ‘Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968 – 2002’ at the National Gallery of Victoria (2002), ‘Turbulence: the 3rd Auckland Triennial’, Auckland, and ‘Revolutions – Forms That Turn, the 2008 Biennale of Sydney’ (curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev). Julie Rrap’s work is held in every major public collection as well as many corporate and private collections. Rrap was selected for the prestigious Clemenger Contemporary Art Award at the National Gallery of Victoria in September 2009. Her video work, ‘360° Self Portrait’ won the ‘2009 University of Queensland National Artists' Self-Portrait Prize’. ‘Loaded’ will be Julie Rrap’s twelfth solo exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.