David Fairbairn | Overview

With his compelling portrait taking pride of place as a finalist in the 2016 Archibald Prize, David Fairbairn's latest exhibition 'Overview' at Stella Downer Fine Art presents a rich psychological foray into his broad practice of prints, etchings and mixed media works.

Overview is a psychological mind map into the varied states of humanity in Fairbairn’s practice. Showcasing a suite of copper etchings alongside a selection of drawings of the same subjects, they vary from charged portraits, to stripped back and refined works that exude a calm conclusion.

There is a marked shift and difference that occurs when marks made in paint and pastel are transferred to copper and etched in ferric chloride. Fairbairn’s loose and expressive gestures take a new form in print. The viewer is encouraged to explore the variances, and see how both mediums reveal the subject in new ways.

The range of prints, drawings and etchings reveal the dialogue between the different mediums in his practice. 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. The vigour and immediacy to his mark making, ranges in intensity as if it is through his process that he is getting a sense of not only the figure, but their inner self.

Guy Warren describes the layered emotional depth in Fairbairn’s works, stating that they “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.”

Overview opens this Saturday 13 August, head along to meet the artist and his ephemeral sitters.

David Fairbairn | Overview
Stella Downer Fine Art
2 August – 27 August
Opening Saturday 13 August, 3 – 5 pm

Courtesy the artist and Stella Downer Fine Art, Sydney.

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