david fairbairn
david fairbairn grafton regional gallery

JADA 2018: 14 days to go...

The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award countdown will feature one of the 2018 finalists every day until the winner is announced on October 26 at Grafton Regional Gallery.

Artist: David Fairbairn

Title/details: Portrait of T.J.K. No2, 2018, 127 x 118cm

David Fairbairn was born in 1949 in Zambia, Africa.

He attended public boarding school in England before studying at West Surry College of Art and Design where he gained his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 1974 and received a postgraduate certificate at the Royal Academy School of Art in London in 1977.

He moved to Australia in the 1980s where he met his wife, fellow artist Suzanne Archer, whose work is also featured in the Grafton Regional Gallery collection.

The painter/printmaker won the 2002 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the 1999 Dobell Drawing Prize. He has been a finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize 15 times and in the Archibald eight times. He won the Kedumba Drawing award in 2009 and most recently the Mosman Art prize in 2012.

Fairbairn's work was initially inspired by the African masks of his homeland and influenced by his obsession with portraiture. He has held more than 20 solo exhibitions and 70 group exhibitions since then and has won more than 40 art prizes and awards.

Fairbairn's approach to mark-making focuses on the use of line as a way of capturing the energy and life force of the subject as it exists in physical space and time.

"My drawings and paintings are a forensic mapping out of an energy field," he says of his work.

Fairbairn captures this notion in the layers of material he applies to his work, each mark representing the minute changes that occur as time passes. He teaches at the National Art School in Sydney.