Drawn to Print | David Fairbairn

Pushing his work to new scale and heights, David Fairbairn presents large scale etchings that vividly externalise the emotional and psychological.

The touring exhibition Drawn to Print offers an insight into the intense and focused lines of David Fairbairn.

Since his Survey Exhibition Lineage – Selected Portraits 1998-2010, Fairbairn has been drawing but increasingly focusing on large scale etchings. Works in the show will be from the period 2010-16 and were chosen specifically because the sitters are further explored in the new etchings 2015-17.

Drawing directly from sitters onto the plates, Fairbairn is able to capture an immediacy and intense connection with the subject. This relationship is critical to his practice, as he states, “for me, the length of time spent with a person, the day to day stopping and starting of a work as a series develops, are factors that contribute to the final outcome.”

Playing with form and medium the works in the show are a product of exploring new possibilities, as Fairbairn explains, “Although I am working within the etching process I am seeking an experimental & personal approach rather than being constrained by traditional processes. It is important to me that the etchings will compliment & extend my previous explorations in drawing.”

Ranging from brooding and intense, to the melancholic or the vibrant, the works depict the vast potential of etchings. “In these Etchings I am interested in the unexpected transformative qualities of the etched copper line that is a result of the plate being immersed in the Ferric Chloride. The quality of the corrosive line is quite different to a drawn line on paper using charcoal or pastel”, says Fairbairn.

The absence of colour in the new work reveals Fairbairn’s clever play with tone in exploring the emotion of the work. As he outlines, “Now working predominately in Black and White, without the added complexities of colour, in the new series I will be able to reinforce the underlying formal & abstract structures in the depiction of the sitter, whilst still emphasising the emotional and psychological content of the work.”

Drawn to Print promises a rich exploration of the psyche of both the artist – who has stayed true to print throughout his practice – and the patience of his sitters who have built steadfast relationships with the artist over the last seven years.

Drawn to Print

Orange Regional Gallery
17 February – 1 April 2018

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