Fairweather and China
Miegunyah Press, $59.99 hb, 320 pp
Since the time of celebrated figure painter Gu Kaizhi (345–406 CE) of the Jin dynasty (266–420 CE), artists in China have been researchers of sorts. Over millennia, a scholarly ideal in painting would emerge. Late in their working lives, many artists sought an aesthetic that was uncontrived and conformed to the inner workings of nature. For Nanjing-based art historian Xue Xiang, this was Fairweather’s achievement. A Scottish-born artist, son of civil servants to the British Raj, war survivor, migrant, vagabond, builder of makeshift rafts and huts, well-connected recluse, acclaimed foster child of Australian art: what makes Ian Fairweather resonate with Chinese artists across millennia?