‘Richard Meaghan assembles narratives from a never ending stream of political corruption. Fabricating a dystopian world born from his imagination, his surreal meanderings and thoughts take on an evolutionary journey from ancient history and theology to ideas of globalisation, control and political agenda. The resulting characters are an eternally recurring cast of players, wallowing in a world of Machiavellian machinations.’
My work is engaged in an ongoing narrative based on a mythology of the transmigration of evil souls and an eternally recurring cast of characters that wallow in a world of Machiavellian machinations. Visually inspired by early Netherlandish painting and Mannerist in its use of the human figure, the story begins with August de Gauvain and his rise to prominence in the 18th century when he becomes the founder of The Club, an elite secret society for gentlemen.
August de Gauvain was born in 1711 in Hesse, Germany later moving to Cologne in 1731. August’s parentage and family wealth are unknown but his ascent to international prominence began when he set up as a salary lender in Cologne’s Judengasse. The early days establishing the business were fraught with danger but helped create the ‘myth’ of August, the story is that as a young man he lost his right arm in what seems to be a vendetta between himself and a local money changer. His arm was sawn off above the elbow as a warning to him and others not to lend money in the Judengasse. Other than this story history tells us very little of what happened to the money changer, August however went on to establish a thriving business in the region and later and more importantly became the founder of ‘The Club’.
August is shown below in The Club’s initiation garb wearing obligatory Club bands, merkin and white socks. ‘The Tragedy of Avarice’ is a portrait of the original fat banker, the drawing is purposely Hogarthian in style as befitting the time.
Moving forward some 250 years we encounter my main protagonist Wilhem de Gauvain as he takes his rightful place at The Club’s helm alongside his father Jacob. Here he must declare his belief in a Supreme Being and perform an initiation act sealing his commitment to The Club and faith in their Law…
Richard’s studio is in a biscuit factory in Liverpool where he paints and draws every day and eats chocolate hobnobs. He studied Fine Art at Staffordshire University and Wirral Metropolitan College and on graduating was awarded a travel grant to study Renaissance Art in Italy where he was taught how to make oil paint in a Monasterial retreat just north of Lake Garda. The resulting work was awarded first prize in the Sefton Open, followed shortly with his first solo public exhibition at the Atkinson Art gallery, Southport where his work was bought for their collection. Richard was chosen as one of three emerging artists to exhibit alongside Turner Prize winners Chris Ofili and Keith Tyson in ‘Exposed’ (Art and Culture in England’s North West) and was shortlisted for the Liverpool Art Prize in 2009. Since becoming a father in 2010 Richard has been working with Paper gallery UK, exhibiting around the world at art fairs and has upcoming group and solo exhibitions in Glasgow, Nottingham, Weymouth and Los Angeles.