Julian Meagher is a 34 year old Sydney-based artist. Six years ago he left work as a medical doctor to pursue painting full-time. He currently shows at Chalk Horse Gallery in Sydney (of which he is also a director), Edwina Corlette Gallery - Brisbane, Metro Gallery - Melbourne, Ecosse Gallery - Exeter, Cat Street Gallery - Hong Kong and Aratong Gallery in Singapore.
Having trained in traditional oil portraiture in Florence, Italy in his early 20's, his application of paint somewhat reflects those techniques. He applies multiple thin glazes over many sittings, achieving an almost watercolour-like effect.
Originally, Meagher’s subject matter centered around the ritual of tattooing, the narrative of the ink in the skin, and by stripping away the sitter's identity and 'floating' the image in the centre of a white background, he creates an almost specimen-like effect with his works. More recently his works have been loosely based around other masculine rituals and symbols, such as disembodied heads of sporting heroes.
Meagher’s work explores the binary nature of contemporary Australian masculinity. He paints what he calls 'male still lives'. Orchids feature strongly in his current series, their name driving from the Greek Orchida, which means testicle. Their bulbs were ground down with goats milk as an aphrodisiacal drink. The distinct use of shades of pink in this series colours the shadows cast by these symbols of man, and whimsically explore the irony in modern masculinity. Meagher is interested in the colour theory of gender association as well as present day tribal colour associations.
In 2009 and 2012 he was the recipient of the New Work Grant from the Australia Council of the Arts He has been finalist multiple times in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Salon des Refuses, Metro Art Prize, Blake Prize for Religious Art and the RBS Emerging Artist Prize. He has exhibited at the Melbourne International Art Fair in 2010 and 2012, the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair in 2010 and Scope Miami in 2011 and 2012.