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David Fairbairn wins 2012 Mosman Art Prize

Posted Friday 20 July 2012fair 275

Congratulations to David Fairbairn, winner of the 65th annual Mosman Art Prize.

Announced at the official exhibition opening last night, David Fairbairn has won the 2012 Mosman Prize Art for his mixed media work, Seated Figure J.B with Orange Ground, a portrait of artist James Barker. Fairbairn was awarded $30,000 for his winning work that will be on display at the award exhibition at Mosman Art Gallery, 21 July – 26 August.

David Fairbairn is one of Australia’s leading artists who predominantly works in mixed media. Winner of the 2002 Doug Moran Portrait Prize, the 2009 Kedumba Drawing Award and the 1999 Dobell Drawing Prize, Fairbairn was chosen from a finalist selection of 101 artworks, as judged by Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

On selecting the Mosman Art Prize awards, Ms Flanagan commented that –

Prizes have such a fascinating place in Australian art and Mosman Art Prize is no exception. The Mosman Art Prize is about painting. That might seem obvious ­ as it would have been to Lloyd Rees in 1947 – but in today’s world of multi media it is actually a contentious question as to what is a painting.

The 2012 winner of the Mosman Art Prize is David Fairburn for his work Seated figure J.B. with orange ground. David Fairburn is a highly respected artist who pursues the act of painting with such remarkable intensity. He invests his paintings with energy, such raw energy that they seem to vibrate off the wall. Seated figure J.B. with orange ground is a powerful work where the line never seems to leave the paper until it has captured some intimate current between the artist and the sitter. David has worked on a series of portraits of artist James Barker over a long time and this painting is charged with intense intimacy. Framed by the architecture of the room the edgy portrait of J.B. hovers in the lower right of the painting and is mapped with a frenzy of lines. The inherent energy in this work comes from capturing the unique qualities of the sitter. In this portrait the very intensity of paint reveals a stillness in the sitter – it is a quiet, reflective image of a fellow artist. This is a remarkable portrait for the Mosman Gallery collection.

David Fairbairn explains his 2012 winning work:

The work included in this year’s Mosman Prize is one of a series completed of James Barker over an eight month period in 2011. James is a painter of still life and landscape, who at age 80 continues to live and work in Sydney. A number of large scale works (210×183cm) – one of which is currently showing in the 2012 Archibald Prize – were completed alongside a number of medium size works (130×120cm) – one of which is now in the 2012 Mosman Art Prize.

My portraits are not only about the physical and psychological aspects of the sitter and the artist but also as much about the process of drawing and painting itself. I like to work with a variety of mediums, including acrylic, gouache, pastel, ink, etching, collage and charcoal which incorporate a kind of architectural approach, building one layer on top of another until a sustained image evolves. Ultimately all that really matters is the authenticity of the image.

Awards also announced at the 2012 Mosman Art Prize:

  • The Allan Gamble Memorial Art Prize, ($3,000), sponsored by Mosman Council, awarded to: Jerzy Michalski for Time Study
  • The Henry Bucks Commendation Prize, ($5,000), awarded to: John Bartley for Sirens Song
  • The Fourth Village Providore Young Emerging Artists’ Award, for artists under 35 years, ($2,000), awarded to: Clara Adolphs for New Tricks
  • (Mosman Art Society Viewers’ Choice Award for $1,000 – to be announced).

The 2012 Mosman Art Prize is on view until 26 August.

Mosman Art Gallery is open 7 days, 10am – 5pm. Admission free.