Inlet/Outlet is the first landscape series from Sydney painter Julian Meagher, which he explains is ‘a subject that I have struggled with in the past.’ The striking body of work was inspired by a residency on the Sapphire Coast, facilitated by the Bega National Gallery and Museums and Galleries Australia. Julian, and his heavily pregnant wife Beejal, lived in a historic Roy Grounds designed house on an inlet within the national park. In this environment, their days were informed by the rhythm of water and of feeling the ‘strong force of timeless cycles’ around them.
Those blue sapphire beaches feature prominently in Inlet/Outlet, which depicts luminous waterways and a sense of place that is flowing and vibrant. The works are a departure from Julian’s more restrained and intimate interior portraits. These new paintings are somehow grander, with expressive, sweeping brushstrokes – though fans of his work (like us!) will find familiarity in the painterly, ‘watercolour-esque’ style. Julian’s generous technique communicates the power of ocean currents, and he describes applying his oil paints in a way that retains ‘the energy of quick watercolour sketches.’
This work has given Julian a new sense of freedom, allowing a process that negotiated both risk and failure. He says he’s ‘a lot better at accepting this now, and almost welcomes it, in a way.’ Fatherhood has also made an impact. ‘Things are a lot less about me, and there is a profound beauty to that’, tells Julian. ‘I think that daily reminder is helping me in the studio in all kinds of ways.’
Embracing risk has expanded Julian’s practice in more ways than one – he’s also created a motion painting video work as part of the new exhibition. This piece aims to bring the Sapphire Coast inlet into the gallery, through meditative sounds of the locally Bell Miner birds, and the repetitive movement of rolling waves. Inlet/Outlet offers an opportunity to experience the vibrant colours of country and the pace of the Sapphire Coast – plus an insight into the inlet where Julian and his young family have opted to remain!
Inlet/Outlet by Julian Meagher
21st March – 15th April
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra, New South Wales