Sylvia Jones Award for Women Artists
There Goes the Floor: Self-Portrait 2020
About the artwork
To Julie Fragar, self portraits are biographical checkpoints for stopping and thinking about how things are traveling. In 2020 reality got a shake up for all of us. This portrait feels like that. Fragar says, “I can still get dressed to go and do the usual things, but the usual things seem weirdly suspect. At 43, I understand that we don’t know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. Actually we don’t know much at all and the older I get, the more I feel it. I think I paint to work through that uncertainty and find something tangible to focus on.”
About the sitter
This piece is a self portrait.
About the artist
Julie Fragar is an Australian artist whose work focuses on painting and autobiography. Fragar has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and prizes, and has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. Her work is held major public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Art Gallery of South Australia and numerous other public and private collections
Julie Fragar’s self-portrait is bold and emotional. A monochromatic pallet, a single gaze and an unfussy background all contribute to a powerful portrait.
Painted in a restrained manner that captures the physical presence of the artist, it also conveys a sensitive emotional moment as the artist conveys the collective anxiety of 2020.
As the portrait draws you in, you realise the complexity of the painted surface, with flashes of colour from the underpainting.
Director, National Gallery of Australia
“This portrait comes at an interesting time, when I am, along with everyone else in the world, wondering how we got here and where we will end up. A self-portrait from 2020 seems inevitably tied to a collective rather than individual consciousness. ”
Behind the scenes
Self-Portraits are a recurring strand of my work. While other, broader projects about the experiences of others are always developing, self-portraits serve as an occasional, visual self check-in.
This portrait comes at an interesting time, when I am, along with everyone else in the world, wondering how we got here and where we will end up. A self-portrait from 2020 seems inevitably tied to a collective rather than individual consciousness.