Detail: Work in Progress - Riverside - oil on canvas ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx
The paintings come across on a first impression as being sombre and severe. Certainly there is an extremely limited colour palette. Fairweather, having travelled extensively discovered Bribie Island , north of Brisbane and lived there from 1953 in a hut on the Island until the end of his life. His lifestyle was simple in the extreme - no electricity and he painted flat on a trestle or with the paintings pinned to the wall.
Art supplies were meagre - he used ordinary house paint mixed with gouache on cardboard or even newspaper. (I am sure these prove to be a nightmare for the conservation department.)
On close examination the paintings reveal numerous layers. Paint is built up gradually, and little jewel-like areas are a delight. I have included details of a couple of paintings.
Detail: Painting III
Detail from Painting II
The influence of Cubism and Abstract expressionism is strong as can be seen in Kite Flying which also shows the influence of his interest in China, Chinese calligraphy and customs.
Kite Flying - Ian Fairweather 1958 - synthetic polymer paint with gouache on cardboard on composition board. (The painting is made up of a number of pieces of cardboard joined together)
The exhibition is on until March 3 2013 and is certainly worth a visit.