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Mark Fairnington - Site

Oil on panel, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Mark Fairnington - Shed

Oil on panel, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Mark Fairnington - Site

Oil on panel, 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Mark Fairnington - Border Park Services

Oil on panel, 2019. Courtesy the artist.

This Land

Shed, 2018

Site, 2018

Border Park services, 2019

House on the Tyne, 2019

Oil on panel. Courtesy the artist.

Mark Fairnington's This Land paintings are part of a series that began as a commission for the English Heritage property Cherryburn, the birthplace of the artist Thomas Bewick, they reflect the site, that landscape and its history. As a direct response to Bewick’s way of gathering information about the world he inhabited, his love of walking, obsessive drawing and rootedness in the area, Fairnington made a series of walks around Cherryburn and Northumberland. The paintings explore how the artist's subjective response to the landscape can be framed within a collective experience, shaped by the history of landscape painting and more specifically the legacy of Thomas Bewick.

The paintings explore how the broader issues of human relationships to the landscape and nature, the economics of how we use the land, the politics of preservation and conservation are reflected in those incidental moments experienced as one walks and how some of these issues might find form in the paintings.

The ‘ruin’ paintings from this series focus on a kind of functional, pragmatic architecture that seems poised on the edge of collapse. Site and House on the Tyne interested me as images because the ramshackle collection of objects and constructions when made into paintings take on a believable precision, as if that is exactly how they are meant to be. The sign on the fence in Site becomes an abstract painting, a defiant declaration of formal purity in the face of what surrounds it.

Mark Fairnington

Mark Fairnington is a painter who has shown extensively in Museums and private galleries in the US and Europe. His research employs painting to sustain a visual examination of diverse museum collections and histories. Whether in large scale paintings of mounted insects, taxidermy displays of birds, portraits of prize stud bulls, the artistic and scientific language of flowers or the collected human, his interest is in the eccentricities of the one required to stand in for all; the specimen.

Fairnington undertakes teaching and research at Chelsea College of Arts.