I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which I study and work, the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Eastern Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past and present. I acknowledge that this is land that was never ceded.
Ember Fairbairn has based herself primarily in Melbourne and Queensland, satisfying her love of contemporary culture and the need to be immersed in remote parts of nature. Fairbairn’s practice focuses primarily on painting and she holds a Masters in Contemporary Art. Ember is based in the Yarra Valley.
Her exhibiting history spans from 2001 in both solo and group shows in artist run spaces and commercial galleries in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and New York. Awards include The 2020 Atheaeum Club visual Arts Research Award (2020), The MacFarlane Fund Residency(2020), Gogo Art Series Award (2019) , Art150 Travelling Scholarship (2019), The Ravenswood Art prize for women (Finalist), Start emerging Art programme in the 2012 Affordable Art fair Melbourne. Residencies include Montsalvat Art Centre and Yea Arts Festival. She is housed in both public and private collections including St Vincent’s hospital Sydney public art collection and Harmony of the Seas cruise ship collection.
The conceptual concerns in Embers' practice focuses on breaking spells cast upon her own perception and pushing against self-determined boundaries. Against these edges, the painter can sit inside the discomfort of the new, utilising systems of abstraction to address metaphysical issues. The resulting abstractions often reference the landscape as place, both as external and internal locations. The land is the body. These residual forms of painting by their nature, confront outdated ways of relating to and constructing landscape as commodity and resource, much in the way that the feminine body has been utilised by the phallocentric lens. Transmuting the way in which land and territory has been used as power and authority, holding to ransom connection to place both physically and psycho-actively. The process of painting places the artist inside a shifting temporality. Her own body and psyche transmit through the hands and onto the surface. The painter is then free to re-create her own mythologies/ cosmology through the transcendent language of visual representation. Through a practice which is process based, gesture erasure and transparent layers are often evident in the work. These compositions reveal the conceptual and visual processes of layering: imbuing the work with the artists experience of place, dream states and the contemplation of re-written and obscured histories.
Being born and living in Australia, any work referencing land and place will invariably evoke the complex issues surrounding place in all the ways in which it is currently unresolved in a socio-political context, which the artist seeks to address and contemplate. It is the artists desire, that making art through abstracted painting, she can be part of a conceptual meeting point to create positive change in the way in which we relate to place as part of ourselves and land as a living essence.
“Creating art for me is a communion with all of potential, it is a meditation where one “loses” self and merges into all that is and all that is yet to be. The process dictates the form. employing colour, mark making, symbol and shape through oil paint, and texture via the encaustic process.I want to be instructed by the subconscious and by surrendering to what wants to be made, I can be educated from that place".