PROJECT: Metro Tunnel Creative Program
ARTIST: Jacob Leary
ARTWORK TITLE: Things in Beauty, Beauty in Things
LOCATION: Crn Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne
In collaboration with the Metro Tunnel Creative Program, FLG and Jacob Leary have brought Leary's striking artworks to one of Melbourne's busiest streets. As passersby traverse the corner of Flinders Lane and Swanston Street, they are now met with large scale vinyl decals from Leary's 2019 series Things in Beauty, Beauty in Things. Gazing out from the historic wall of the Nicholas Building each of the 5 glistening portraits add a touch of glitz and glamour to the everyday.
About the Things in Beauty, Beauty in Things Series
In this series Leary turns his gaze back to the body and its adornments. These works ‘place an emphasis on the aesthetic realm of appearances, the world of surfaces where glimmers, sparkles and reflections are important in their relation to “excess”.’ His pieces are exemplars of the practice of ‘maximalism’, an approach which celebrates richness and excess through work-intensive (often obsessive) artworks, characterised by over-decoration, luxury and sensuality.
Jacob Leary is a multi-disciplinary artist with a practice spanning a range of mediums including painting, prints, video and installation. His tendency toward the dynamic has fed his preoccupation with assemblage. Creating artworks that operate within a series, Leary allows for a tendency toward change to occur. It is this investigation not only of aesthetically pleasing pattern and systems, but also the theories of philosophers such as Manuel DeLanda, which informs how his artworks are executed.
Leary completed his Masters of Fine Arts at the Hobart School of Art in 2011, undertaking research via a series of eclectic installations exploring the exponential growth of technology within contemporary culture. He has since been invited to participate in a range of high profile exhibitions and initiatives including Hobart Current: Liberty 2020 in conjunction with the City of Hobart and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the 2017 QANTAS Curates Initiative, which saw his works featured on the airline’s international Business Class amenity kits, exhibiting with the Tasmanian College of the Arts as part of DarkMofo in 2016 and with the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery in 2013, as part of their Emerging Artists Program.
He has won numerous awards for his work, including the John Fries Memorial Prize (2012), a national award for emerging visual artists, and has also been the recipient of multiple grants including a Contemporary Art Tasmania Studio Grant in 2012 and an Australia Council Grant for Emerging Artists in 2013. He was a finalist in the Glover Prize (2018), the Hutchins Art Prize – Works on Paper (2018), the Redlands Art Prize (2016), the Burnie Print Prize (2015) and the City of Hobart Prize - Printmaking (2014). He has undertaken commissions for Hobart College and MONA FOMA and the Moonah Arts Centre.
Jacob is currently a seasonal staff member at the Hobart School of Art. His work is held in the collections of Artbank, University of Tasmania, Justin Art House Museum, RACT Collection, Tasmanian Government, llisington Collection and Ormond College.