David Fairbairn – Insight

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For more than twenty years DAVID FAIRBAIRN has been a leading Australian draftsman. His arresting portraits are charged with an uncanny psychological reality and FAIRBAIRN captures his subjects with striking intimacy.

FAIRBAIRN is a master of line and his sustained works have an almost topographic quality, as if he is mapping the sitter both emotionally and physically. They reveal a fascination with structure and presence.

Mixed media works begin with a completed print that becomes the underlying foundation for the layers of paint that are then worked up into a dense and tactile surface. Creating an intense build up of angular lines and over drawing, as if sculpting the subject onto the page, FAIRBAIRN conveys a sense of immediacy and energy.

Guy Warren says DAVID FAIRBAIRN’s works “grow out of the activity of making. They evolve out of the process itself. They seem gouged out of the surface, as he digs to uncover layers of meaning and feeling… These portraits are gut-wrenching investigations into a very personal association between artist and sitter… They are portraits which almost literally dig beneath the surface of the subject.”

These are not flattering portraits, rather they are tender and revealing. As he builds up his complex, textured surfaces, FAIRBAIRN strips back psychological barriers between subject and artist – revealing a stark and fragile humanity.

 DAVID FAIRBAIRN studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London during the 1970’s and since moving to Australia in 1981 he has won the 20th Kedumba Drawing Award (2009), the Calleen Acquisitive Award (2006), Art on The Rocks (2003), the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2002) and the Dobell Drawing Prize (1999) and he has received over forty awards and prizes.  He has had almost nearly twenty solo exhibitions and been in over eighty group exhibitions. DAVID FAIRBAIRN is extensively represented in both public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artbank and all major regional galleries across Australia. A major survey exhibition Lineage: David Fairbairn Selected Portraits 1998 – 2010, curated by Campbelltown Arts Centre, will travel to regional galleries across Australia throughout 2011 and 2012.



Where:   Stella Downer Fine Art:  www.stelladownerfineart.com

When: 23 August – 17 September 2011

Also showing at Depot II Gallery. 

To advertise your gallery or exhibition email CANVAS & CO:  info@canvasandco.com.au

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