Julian Meagher_TheDesignFiles

Julian Meagher spoke with The Design Files about the inspiration behind his newest exhibition Inlet/Oulet, on view at Olsen Gallery from Wednesday, March 21st.


Read the full article here: http://thedesignfiles.net/2018/03/inlet-outlet-by-julian-meagher/


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Interview with Julian Meagher

 Julian Meagher discusses his exhibition ‘There is Hope to the Last Flower‘  at Olsen Gallery with Varia Koripoff in the current issue of Art Guide.

Julian Meagher, There is Light Somewhere, 152 x 246 cm. Oil on linen. 2016.

Article by Varia Karipoff,

His story has been told numerous times across media – often with just a lingering hint of incredulity. Julian Meagher completed a medical degree before embarking on a career as a painter. Though in truth his interest in art never waned, somehow finding time to undertake a classical education in portrait painting at Charles H Cecil Studios in Florence, midway through his medical studies.

Over the course of 15 years Meagher has notched up an Archibald moment (he was a finalist in 2014 and 2015), won a slew of grants and prizes, and exhibited in places as far afield as India, Singapore and LA.

In his painting, Meagher is conscious of the disconcertedness and darkness beneath our ‘radiant Southern Cross.’


Working in thinned down oils he captures the pellucid blue light and reflective surfaces of his childhood upbringing on Sydney Harbour’s foreshore – albeit in unexpected objects. The metallic tones of a bloated cask wine bladder, or a family of empty alcohol bottles knocked over like skittles and adorned with native flora are just two examples of his uniquely Australian work.

In the resulting still life, national perceptions of masculinity and addiction, and even the violence that precipitated lockout laws are cast back at the viewer from the painted surface. In his latest exhibition, a gentler, more optimistic tone comes to the fore.

Varia Karipoff—Your inroad into the art world was somewhat unorthodox – how did it unfold?

Julian Meagher—I have always loved painting and been surrounded by it since I was a kid, spending a lot of my teenage years taking extra art courses and also studying for a year over in Italy at an art school. I then completed a medical degree at university in my early twenties before deciding to pursue art professionally.

VK—What compelled you to change direction after completing your studies in medicine?

JM—I finally grew some balls. I am kind of happy though that I was more mature and experienced when I started out. Without discipline and drive it’s very hard to work through the highs and lows of making paintings.

VK—Can you describe how you work?

JM—I think my main influence actually came from family. My mum is a painter and was always taking us to galleries, and my uncle was a die hard collector. I did spend a lot of time by the water growing up, and began to realise even then that each area in Sydney has quite a dark and often unrecognised past underneath its immediate aesthetic beauty. I guess I am still working out my place in this city and its history.

'Study for There is Light Somewhere' 117 x 96 cm. Oil on linen. 2016
Julian Meagher, Study for There is Light Somewhere, 117 x 96 cm. Oil on linen. 2016


VK—Previously your paintings chronicled eastern tattoos and exotic birds, why has your lens turned inwards to Australian culture?

JM—To be honest it is the narrative of paint and space itself that is the overriding joy I get from making work, regardless of subject matter. However, I do think Australian culture is becoming more important to me as I grow up and want the country to grow in the right direction as well.

VK—Tell me about your upcoming show at Olsen Gallery – what can we expect to see?

JM—The title of this show [There is Hope to the Last Flower] is a quote from an apiarist discussing the plight of bees. Faced with so many sad and distressing events in our world, and my own sense of hopelessness at times, I wanted to paint a show about optimism. This show includes portraits and still lifes touching on many disparate subjects – ranging from friends’ addictions, the recent lockout laws, Australia’s identity, our environment, love and my recent marriage. When I look at things I see so many reflections.

VK—The works from the Olsen show are very patient studies in light, transparency and reflection – we can definitely see the optimism coming through.

JM—I hope so. The economist Paul Romer recently described optimism as both conditional and complacent. The feeling a child experiences while waiting for a present is complacent or passive optimism. Whereas conditional optimism is when a child that wants a tree house realises, that if he gets the materials and friends to help him – he can then build it himself. I think I am trying to engage in conditional optimism whenever I can in many aspects of both life and studio practice. Painting in its pure form is a great example of this. As painters we can decide where to shine the light.

VK—In your paintings of goon bags the line between humour, beauty, critique and celebration is blurred – why did you choose this derided object as a focus?

JM—They are great objects to paint, so damn solid but at times also threatening to float away. It is hard to beat translating such a symbolic object into a thing of beauty.

VK—Often objects or figures are grouped in your work in a way which suggests a landscape, although your paintings are practically always interior, or at least devoid of background detail. Are you conscious of a tension between still life and landscape in your work?

JM—I guess I do see each work as a kind of constructed landscape. I am actually about to undertake a residency with Bega Valley Regional Gallery in which I am looking forward to painting a landscape series. It will be interesting to see what comes out of that.

VK—Coming from a studio-based practice, how do you think you will approach landscape painting?

JM—To be honest I have no idea. Most of my recent landscapes have ended up in the bin. I am actually hoping that the environment there will help me push through these failures into something special.

VK—What else are you looking forward to this year?

JM—Becoming a father.

VK—What is something that you have seen or read recently that has had an impact on your practice in some way?

JM—Sapiens by Yuval Harari is a book that I think should be essential reading for everyone, it is one of the best entry points into the history and mechanics of humanity. Also, the David Hockney exhibition at the NGV just blew me away, his passion for mark making, perspective and his willingness to experiment are elements I have tried to bring more to my own practice.

There is Hope to the Last Flower
Julian Meagher
Olsen Gallery
22 February – 12 March

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Julian Meagher Finalist for the Shirley Hannan Bega Portrait Prize

Olsen Irwin artist Julian Meagher has been selected as a finalist for the Shirley Hannan Bega Portrait Prize.

Julian chose to depict fellow Olsen Irwin artist Paul Ryan for the prize.

'Paul Ryan - Portrait of a selfie' 61 x 56 cm. Oil on linen.2015Julian Meagher, Paul Ryan – Portrait of a selfie 2016, 61 x 56 cm. Oil on  linen.

The Shirley Hannan Bega Portrait Prize is a $50,000 non-acquisitive award for realistic portraiture.

Julian recently was a finalist in the Archibald prize for his painting of Silverchair lead singer Daniel Johns.

To view works available by Julian Meagher click here

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Opening of Anh Do and Julian Meagher

Wednesday night saw members of Sydney’s art community, celebrities and socialites brave the wild weather for the join openings of Julian Meagher and Ahn Do’s first exhibitions at the Olsen Irwin Gallery, 63 Jersey Road.


Despite Mother Nature putting on her most extreme weather, in an attempt to keep art fans away, the room was standing room only.

Hung in two adjoining galleries both exhibitions are united by an exploration of humanity, history and experience through the genre of portraiture. Meagher continues his exploration of identity through a series of works mixing imperial measurement bottles with English roses and Australian flora.


Julian Meagher
Study for Wentworth 2015
oil on linen
71 x 56cm
It is the first time both Meagher and Do have had solo exhibitions at the Olsen Irwin Gallery and their words have been warmly received.
Anh Do
Man 6 2015
oil on linen
153 x 122cm

Both Exhibitions run until the 10th of May and can be viewed online below.

Julian Meagher; Drinking with the other Sun

Anh Do: Man

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Julian Meagher | Belvoir's 2015 Season illustrator

“Sydney artist Julian Meagher is responsible for bringing to life the actors in our 2015 season book with his pencil and charcoal on paper illustrations.” – Belvoir, 2014

Meagher produced 12 individual portraits for each of the 2015 productions at Sydney’s Belvoir theatre. Read more about Meagher and his work over on the Belvoir website – here.




2014 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize | Semi-finalists

Nicholas Harding, Julian Meagher and Paul Ryan have all been named as semi-finalists in the 2014 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. The annual prize, in its 26 year, awards $150,000 to an outstanding work of portraiture. The winning work is acquired by the Moran Arts Foundation.

“Established by Doug and Greta Moran and Family in 1988 in celebration of Australia’s bicentennial, the Moran Arts Foundation fosters portraiture skills and excellence in photography.” – Moran Arts Foundation

2014 judges are Edmund Capon AM OBE, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1978 to 2011 and artist, Lewis Miller. From the semi-finalists, 30 finalists will be named and exhibited at Juniper Hall in Paddington, Sydney from 29 October 2014 to 15 February 2015. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 28 October 2014. Best of luck to all!

Julian Meagher, Straight Into The Sun, 2014, oil on linen, 76 x 51cm.

Julian Meagher, Straight Into The Sun, 2014, oil on linen, 76 x 51cm


Paul Ryan, Noah, 2014, oil on linen

Nicholas Harding, Richard Roxburg, 2014, oil on linen, 168 x 76cm

Nicholas Harding, Richard Roxburg, 2014, oil on linen, 168 x 76cm


Archibald and Wynne Prize | Finalists

Olsen Irwin are proud to announce finalists for the 2014 Archibald and Wynne Prizes.

Finalists in the Archibald Prize include Olsen Irwin artists Paul Ryan, Alan Jones, Julian Meagher and Anh Do. Wynne Prize finalists include Guy Maestri and Robert Malherbe.

2014 marks the 11th time Paul Ryan has been hung as a finalist in the Archibald Prize. Alan Jones was also shortlisted in 2013 with a portrait of Pat Corrigan AM. Anh Do and Julian Meagher are first time finalists in 2014.

Robert Malherbe will be hung as a finalist in the Wynne Prize for the 4th time. This will be Guy Maestri’s third year in a row as a finalist in the Wynne Prize. The annual Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture.

Olsen Irwin would like to congratulate all finalists for this outstanding achievement. A full list of finalists can be viewed here on the Art Gallery of New South Wales website.


Alan Jones, Adam, 2014, Oil and acrylic on linen, 171 x 156 cm – 2014 Archibald Prize Finalist


Anh Do, Father, Oil on canvas, 2014, 244 x 200 cm – 2014 Archibald Prize Finalist


Julian Meagher, John Waters – the clouds will cloud, 2014, Oil on linen, 71 x 55 cm – 2014 Archibald Prize Finalist


Paul Ryan, Rox, 2014, Oil on linen, 240 x 200cm – 2014 Archibald Prize Finalist


Guy Maestri, East west cutting, 2014, Oil on linen, 184 x 225 cm – 2014 Wynne Prize Finalist


Robert Malherbe, The Domain after a storm, 2014, Oil on linen, 66 x 56cm – 2014 Wynne Prize Finalist


Julian Meagher | The Design Files

The Design Files have again featured the work of recent Olsen Irwin addition, Julian Meagher.

“Since we last saw Julian his profile has been well and truly on the rise – earlier this year he gained representation with the highly respected Olsen Irwin Gallery in Sydney, and he’s also currently staging his first solo show in the USA!” – Lucy Feagins, The Design Files

Read the post here on The Design Files.

Julian Meagher’s available works can be viewed here on our website.


‘Floating In A Darkened Sky’ by Julian Meagher, oil on linen, 120cm x 120cm.

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Julian Meagher | Belle Magazine

Julian Meagher features in this month’s Belle Magazine. Meagher joined the Olsen Irwin stable in December 2013 and will have his first solo exhibition with the gallery in 2015. Meagher’s available works can be viewed here on our website.



Julian Meagher, Gin Act 1736, 2013, Oil on linen, 137 x 182cm


Julian Meagher | Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

The work of Julian Meagher features in Goulburn Regional Art Gallery‘s exhibition EFFLORESCENT – A Contemporary Take. The exhibition takes a look at contemporary artists exploring flora – ever-present subject matter for artists throughout the ages. The exhibition will be opened on Friday 31 January at 6pm by Angus Stewart, NSW Presenter for Gardening Australia, Horticulturist, Radio Presenter and Author.

EFFLORESCENT – A Contemporary Take

31 January – 12 April 2014

Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Civic Centre,
Cnr Bourke & Church Sts, Goulburn


Julian Meagher, Gin Act 1736, 2013, Oil on linen, 137 x 182cm