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Julian Meagher - Drinking with the other Sun

Australian Art Collector May 2015

Camilla Wagstaff

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On the back of a sell out show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles, Julian Meagher returns to his hometime of Sydney for his debut exhibition at Olsen Irwin, Drinking with the other Sun.
The exhibition extends on notions of ritual, identity and masculinity from previous bodies of work, exploring Australian identity and its emergence from imperial roots. A suite of still lifes feature robust native fauna juxtaposed by delicate images of the English rose - pointing to the British influence of our national identity- set in intricate compositions of meticulously arranged, reclaimed glass bottles.
The still lives are couples with portraits of the decedents of key figures in Australian history. Meagher’s soft, intimate approach to these works probes notions of personal versus collecting history and inheritance.
Meagher originally trained as a doctor, choosing to leave the world of medicine to pursue a career in art following a period of study in Florence. His unique watercolour- esque style somewhat reflects the traditional oil portraiture techniques he learned at this time; he applied multiple thin glazes over many sittings. One can see elements of his original training too, in his precise execution and a careful, specimen-like treatment of his subjects.

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