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Tom Fairs in Color:

Paintings and Drawings 1997-2007

3rd Floor

September 10 – November 2, 2019

Installation view of landscape paintings by Tom Fairs
Installation view of landscape paintings by Tom Fairs
Installation view of landscape paintings by Tom Fairs
Installation view of landscape paintings by Tom Fairs
Installation view of landscape paintings by Tom Fairs
Installation view of colored landscape drawings by Tom Fairs
Untitled, c. 2000
Untitled, c. 1995
Whitstable, c. 1985 Oilstick on cardstock
Untitled, c. 1990
Untitled, c. 1997-2007
Untitled, c. 1998-9

Van Doren Waxter is pleased to announce exclusive representation of the Estate of Tom Fairs. A highly anticipated exhibition of his rarely seen oils and paintings on paper, Tom Fairs in Color: Paintings and Drawings 1997-2007, will go on view at the gallery’s 1907 townhouse from September 10 to November 2, 2019. Recognized for his exquisite black and white pencil drawings, the forthcoming exhibition is the first in the U.S. devoted to works in color by the late British artist made during the last 20 years of his life and follows his inclusion in the group survey Drawn Together Again (2019) at Flag Art Foundation in New York, NY. The gallery will also travel to the 2019 editions of Frieze Masters and Art Basel Miami Beach with work made by the artist.

The artist (b. 1925-d. 2007) is noted for an affecting body of work that evidences a great range of mark-making and gesture made by the hand with a quiet, skillful urgency. Born in London, England, Fairs studied stained glass design at the Royal College of Art, which would later contribute to a sense of structure in his compositions suffused with a sensitivity to light. As well, his training in European Post-Impressionist artists such as Pierre Bonnard would influence the all over patterning of his drawings and paintings that he made of the natural world depicting the environs of his beloved Hampstead Heath, a large ancient open area of land encompassing forests, ponds, and meadows. Through his living room window he could see the skyline of London which often appears in his work.

His vertical and horizontal works on paper many of them measuring as small as 4 x 5 ½ inches feature an accretion of details, and which Barry Schwabsky, writing in Artforum said “demonstrate an artist of real substance and ambition” and are striking for their “enormous variety and vivacity of the pencil marks…[and] as firm and clear as anything Cézanne would have aspired.” They convey a sense of place without being about realism. The art critic John Yau enthused, that “with soft pencils Fairs got the light and variety of forms he saw in the park…eye and hand worked in tandem in a way that few artists achieve.”

The artist’s rarely seen paintings to go on view this fall are similarly characterized by a quality of intimacy and stillness and informed by a lifetime of looking and travel throughout England, Greece, Italy, and France. The undated Chiltern Pond, measuring 18 x 20 inches, is a lush, verdant oil on canvas that invokes the artist’s comment that his work is “primarily in things seen: landscape, interiors, still life where, in the light of the imagination, the commonplace may be transformed into the extraordinary.” An elegant mixed media on paper made with oilstick and crayon on paper measuring 30 x 22 inches reveals a Georgian house nestled into nature as if glimpsed through an open window.