NO.19 JULIAN MEREDITH: UP OUR STREET - 8 Holland Street's neighbours, near and far


‘All my work is about what I think is important – and I happen to think that eels and brown trout are very important. I don’t suppose a lot of other people do, but to me everything I use has meaning.’


When talking to Herefordshire-based printmaker Julian Meredith, his deep respect and understanding of nature pours out of him; by no means preaching or overbearing, but with a gentle urgency for us all to recognise the beauty that abounds in the world around us.

Julian Meredith’s enormous studio, a walk of a mile or so from his house, was teeming with turkeys until he took over, filling it with five or six huge paint-stained worktables and stencils of blue fin tuna, bigger than him.

Outside he dries pieces of timber with long streams of grain running their whole length, around knots like islands. It makes you feel that you are really looking at wood for the first time. These surfaces form the backgrounds to most of Julian’s fish prints – and suddenly wood as water makes perfect sense. ‘I see something I want to do, I try and take a print from it, but it doesn’t always work,’ he explains. ‘With these works, it is so much about the wood itself and the grain of it, that in the fish or bird images it can easily become either water or air’.

The method of printing to create his works is one that Julian adopts with a brilliant and brutal literalness. His subjects are his medium, as he’ll soak the body of an otter or swift he finds by the river in blue paint, pressing each onto paper. ‘Sometimes I freeze them,’ the freezer in Julian’s studio has not gone unnoticed, but the physicality behind the pieces translates as deference in the finished works.

At the essence of the work Julian does (including his ‘land works’; great outdoor visual creations made from and with the landscape around) is the profound love he has for nature, warts and all. He likes to think that his work may galvanise others into discovering what can be done to protect and preserve our natural world, but he is a realist too, he says ‘I try and ‘shout’ my land works to the skies and say that a whale or even a brown trout is important, they have been treated otherwise for ages and taken for granted – I don’t know whether you’re ever going to make people see brown trout as I do though.’

For now, the unsentimental and clear way in which Julian’s pieces stare back at you is striking. This new work on display in our London and Bath galleries, draws you in to looking closer - not only at how, but why and what knowledge can be garnered from them. Art and nature have overlapped for millennia, and Julian’s art is a quiet and careful proclamation in these changing times, but he is hopeful: ‘when I see a stream that’s clear, running over clear gravel, that to me is worth more than anything material.’

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