fête de l'obscurité

sean fairman

october 2016


Arthouse1 is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Sean Fairman


La Fête de l’Obscurité is the artist’s second solo show at Arthouse1. It is a celebration of twenty-five years of Black Paintings, though all the works are new and will mark a discontinuity as much as an affirmation of his earlier work. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the Day of the Dead, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night  and  All Saints Day - a fête de l’obscurité or "festival of darkness" in which the art is both dark and also obscure in the sense of mysterious and hidden.


Fairman is first-and-foremost a painter and, whilst the new works are often three dimensional and the show as a whole more likely to be an installation than a series of wall hung works, he sees the whole as no more than an extension of his art practice as a painter. His paintings have always had depth, are layered, in relief, with found objects burnt, collaged, or otherwise embedded within the canvas, the layering both an aesthetic device and a means of concealment. Here the objects are more loosely attached, sometimes freed altogether from the confines of the canvass but still part of the painting. A combination of layered paintings and fabricated structures promises a transformation of the gallery space into an immersive happening in which visitors are invited to experience the art rather than merely look at it.


The finished show remains obscure, a mystery, a work in progress, but masks will play a central role; the mask, a transformative instrument (like art itself) evoking thoughts of initiation rites, of subterfuge and disguise, fantasy and darkly playful entertainment, with animal masks, in a menagerie of anthropomorphism, taking on a human form and conveying human emotions such as sadness, shame, anger and fear.


Leave your preconceptions at the door and prepare to be amazed.

Download Catalogue here

click on images for details and to enlarge

arthouse1.    |   45 Grange Road. London SE1 3BH    |   Director : Rebecca Fairman    |   Tel: 07713 189249    |   info@arthouse1.co.uk   |   SE1 Art Map