For many years David Fairbairn has been considered a leading figure in Contemporary Australian Drawing. This year alone Fairbairn was announced Winner of both the Mosman Art Prize, and the Sunshine Coast Art Prize at Caloundra Regional Gallery, while being a finalist in the 2012 Archibald Prize, Paul Guest Prize, and Dobell Prize for Drawing (amongst others). Fairbairn’s high standing in the sphere of Australian Art has been cemented by the recent major survey exhibition À_Lineage: David Fairbairn Selected Portraits 1998 À_ 2010À_ curated by Campbelltown Arts Centre, which toured regional public galleries throughout NSW in 2011 – 2012.
This exhibition at James Makin Gallery features small, medium and major works on paper which typify his architectural style of drawing, as he builds up layers of line-work to construct his imagery. Fairbairn works purely from life, with a number of sitters who pose for him on a regular basis. He writes of his work:
À_I choose my sitters for a variety of reasons, the overriding criteria would be whether their À_lookÀ_ and À_spiritÀ_ inspires me to want to paint and draw them over a period that might continue for two years or more… for me the traditional practise of portraiture À_ the length of time spent with a sitter, the day to day stopping and starting of a work as the series develops over time, and even the subtle daily differences that exist in both subject and artist, are factors that contribute to the interpretation of the work.”
David Fairbairn, 2012