Ink on Original Atlas Map
7.2" x 8.9"
Ed Fairburn harnesses the inherent patterns of paper maps to meticulously craft forms, predominantly focusing on portraiture. This transformative process, uniquely christened as 'topopointillism,' marries the elements of topography and pointillism, manifesting an innovative fusion of art and geography.
Leveraging traditional mediums such as ink, paint, and pencil, Fairburn delicately modifies the contours, roadways, and myriad patterns inherent in cartographic representations. Through these subtle alterations, he skillfully elicits the human form, resulting in a harmonious synthesis of figure and landscape. His approach is underpinned by a deep respect for the integrity of each map, favoring a collaborative engagement with its composition rather than a combative one. This reverence often necessitates hours of meticulous examination of the terrain prior to embarking on the physical art-making process.
Fairburn's fascination lies in the nuanced interplay of elements in each piece, and the intriguing perceptual shift that occurs upon viewing the completed work from different distances. Paradoxically, the portraits, when viewed from afar, exhibit a heightened sense of detail and likeness. Yet, a closer inspection reveals the loss of individual characteristics, replaced by the intricate topography of the map. This dichotomy between the macro and micro perspectives enhances the intrigue of Fairburn's unique body of work, offering a compelling exploration of form, geography, and perception.