Pressure Makes Diamonds: Julian Meagher

Currently running in the Atrium Gallery of the Australian High Commission in Singapore is Australian artist Julian Meagher’s latest exhibition, Pressure Makes Diamonds. The display features a series of artistic renderings of the Papua New Guinean birds-of-paradise, a very personal collection of works, as suggested by the exhibition’s title which Meagher describes as something of a “personal statement.”

The artist worked previously as a medical doctor, making the career change ten years ago. “Though no one was exactly surprised by my change in careers, it was a tough time because of the pressure to prove myself to justify the switch. I can identify with exhibition title and the Papua New Guinean birds-of paradise– the subject of this collection – in the sense that I was under pressure to put on a brilliant display,” he says.

By placing these spectacular birds on such a stark background, Meagher says the intention was to highlight their natural beauty by contrast. This aesthetic dichotomy is explored further in the work through reference to gender, according to Meagher.

“Another contrast the birds represented to me is the idea of masculinity. Modern day masculinity revolves around things that are consciously un-pretty as beauty is relegated to the realm of the feminine. The birds-of-paradise turn such a notion on its head with their bright pink and blues, as it is the males who have to look great to woo the females. That’s how the tribesmen of Papua New Guinea came to place such emphasis on decorating themselves with feathers in their own mating rituals,” he explains.

Aratong Galleries
Atrium Gallery, Australian High Commission, Singapore
Until December 28, 2012



Images:
Magnificent Bird of Paradise, 50 x 50cm, oil on linen
You’ve Got The Body, Now You Want My Soul, 90 x 90cm, oil on linen.

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