Julian Meagher

Sydney artist Julian Meagher's latest exhibition 'Inlet Outlet' is the fruit of a 2017 residency with Bega Valley Regional Gallery (BVRG). A pilot project for a long-term partnership between the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and BVRG, the inaugural residency signals 'another key step in the development of the arts in the region and provides the opportunity for visual artists to draw from the unique natural environment of the local region, connect with regional communities and expand their practice outside of metropolitan studios', says BVRG Director Iain Dawson.

Meagher’s residency took place from 22 April to 9 May, 2017, at Myer House set on Bithry Inlet in the pristine Mimosa Rocks National Park. The historic heritage listed house was built by Kenneth Myer of the Myer Foundation from a design by architect Sir Roy Grounds, and they generously donated it to NPWS in 1976.

During Meagher’s stay he produced a series of landscapes, to be exhibited at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery followed by Olsen Gallery in Sydney. The series, titled ‘Inlet Outlet’, represents a thematic departure from his characteristic still lives that feature oxymoronic arrangements of florals and social detritus alluding to Australia’s dark past and fraught zeitgeist. Instead, Meagher’s new works radiate a more optimistic light, where quiet landscapes unsullied by human consumption and capitalist waste evince the virginal beauty of the Australian coast. Working in thinned down oils built up in transparent layers and scrubbed back, the artist captures the pellucid blue light and glistening surfaces of the Bithry Inlet foreshore. Sublime expanses of coastline incarnate Romantic conceptualisations of the rich omniscience of the natural world. We can almost smell the saline air blowing in as the whispering lull of the tide repeats itself in endless poetic verse. Weaving through the series is the sharp vector of the horizon like a firm albeit elusive directive. This repeated horizontal draws our attention to the array of perspectives presented – from low angles peering up across the luminous expanses of sand, to surveying the shadowy headlands from a heightened viewpoint. There is the sense that this residency was indeed an ‘outlet’ for Meagher, whose new works signal for the artist a fresh vision of the Australian landscape.

‘Inlet Outlet’ is supported by National Parks and Wildlife Service, Museums and Galleries NSW and Bega Valley Shire Council.

EXHIBITION
Inlet Outlet
24 February – 10 March 2018
Bega Valley Regional Gallery, NSW

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