Cover image of the review
Julie Fragar, Flagyl, New Year’s Eve 2000, 2000.


29 Jul 2023
Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre 9 Jun - 27 Aug 2023

“Are you seeing my conviction?” “Is my candour comprehensible?” These are the types of questions—about devotions, doubts and their semiotic losses and gains—that are repeatedly posed in the work of Gosford-born, Brisbane-based painter Julie Fragar.

Biograph is Fragar’s first institutional survey, currently on show at Murwillumbah’s Tweed Regional Gallery, in the rolling, cattle-dotted hills of Northern New South Wales. Curated by Jonathan McBurnie, the exhibition, which spans more than two decades, first opened at Townsville’s Perc Tucker Regional Gallery at the end of 2022, before travelling to the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery earlier this year (its next stop is the Rockhampton Museum of Art, running into 2024).

Growing up in the tiny New South Wales town of Wee Waa, Fragar has lived in Brisbane since the early 2000s, relocating from Sydney (after studying at the Sydney College of the Arts) to begin her PhD in 2006 at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, where she currently works as a senior lecturer. But as this excellent, unflinching exhibition attests, place and locality largely take a back seat to people in Fragar’s practice, with McBurnie foregrounding how she “approaches her subject matter, including the subject-matter of her own life, as a biographer, taking a comparatively arm’s length approach to firsthand experience.” Hung out of chronological order and without an overarching thematic emphasis, a survey is nonetheless the perfect format to engage with these works, enabling us to get a sense of how they are imbricated with the events and characters of her ever-developing life.

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