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Female Artist: There Goes the Floor: Self-Portrait 2020 by Julie Fragar

There Goes the Floor: Self-Portrait 2020​

Julie Fragar​

2020 Sylvia Jones Award for Women Artists​

Proudly supported by
Clem Jones Foundation
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

Judge's Notes

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.

Nick Mitzevitch
Director, National Gallery of Australia
2020 Judge

About Sylvia Jones

The $5,000 Sylvia Jones Prize for Women Artists is proudly supported by The Clem Jones Foundation

Sylvia Jones (1909-1999) performed many different roles and made a significant contribution to the City of Brisbane as Lady Mayoress during her husband Clem’s record term as Lord Mayor from 1961 to 1975.

Noted for modernising the city — especially its road, transport, water, sewerage, and community and sporting infrastructure — the administration led by Clem Jones also helped to develop and expand Brisbane’s cultural life with Sylvia as Lady Mayoress playing an active and leading role.

Clem and Sylvia Jones both took a personal interest in Brisbane’s cultural life and development.

As Lady Mayoress, Sylvia established the Brisbane City Council’s historical and arts collection, and encouraged and lent her support to Brisbane artists and their exhibitions.

She also chaired numerous charity fundraising events including the Lord Mayor’s Charity Ball and the Lord Mayor’s Command Performance.

Sylvia Jones had a deserved reputation as a gracious and approachable woman who, as Lady Mayoress, entertained with diplomacy and style, and was a notable ambassador for the City of Brisbane wherever she went.

“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.