(Australia 1950 – )
157.5 × 142.0 cm image; 167.0 x 152.0 cm sheet
Julie Rrap’s art practice is one of Australian contemporary art’s most sustained investigations into gender and the body. Since her first solo
exhibition in 1982 she has explored the
representation of the female body in Western art and
popular culture as well as a more broad inquiry into gender and identity. Rather than being programmatic, this has been undertaken with wit and humour through the representation of a slippery sense of self often grounded in variations on imaging the artist’s own body.
‘Soft Targets’ 2004 portrays the female body and explores the ethics of photographic representation. Drenched in white light, the artist uses her body as the symbolic ‘target’, the fleshy colour of skin augmented by the soft-printing process. A soft target is an ‘easy kill’; Rrap draws out this allusion, using firearm terminology to title each work in the series.
The print ‘Fish-tailing’, for instance, is described in the artist’s accompanying glossary of terms as: “The result of the bullet base collapsing in the target, causing the bullet to bend and deviate from course”. Rrap’s body does not illustrate this action but portends gesturally to its imaginative, and, in some instances, humorous associations.
Blair French, Where angels tread, 2006, cover (colour illus.).
Victoria Lynn, Julie Rrap: body double, 2007, back cover (colour illus.), 142, 149, 153.