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Ian Friend: Ian Friend

Art and Australia Journal

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Vol 28, No 2, Summer 1990



2015. Gouache, crayon, ink on paper, 41 x 30cm (paper), 65 x 45cm (framed).

Courtesy: the artist and Gallerysmith, Melbourne



For many decades, poetry and music have played a central role in the practice of Ian Friend. Composers Martin Friedel and Cornelius Cardew along with English poet Jeremy Prynne have been the artist’s muse at one time or another. Friend’s latest body of work, City Ghosts, relates to a suite of poems by Queensland indigenous poet Sam Wagan Watson titled Smoke Encrypted Whispers. The poems deal largely with memories of growing up in Brisbane and the ghosts of a sense of place that was transformed during the Bjelke Peterson era. Friend’s artwork is an allusive response, not only triggered by the text but also by the experience of living in Brisbane for two decades “witnessing ongoing transformations that result in the manifestation of more ghosts, echoes of a past that now only exist in memory and imagination.

Ian Friend, ‘Blue Silence #5’, 2017-18. Gouache, crayon and graphite on Arches paper, 152 x 102

Ian Friend’s work reflects a rich engagement with jazz and classical music, poetry and architecture. ‘Blue Silence’ pays homage to poets and artists, composers and musicians including those as diverse as Elena Kats-Chernin, Edward Elgar, Sol Gabetta and Piet Mondrian.

Three Sculptural Images 1984

Lithograph 488 x 775 (19 3/8 x 30 1/2) on T.H. Saunders paper, same size; printed by John White and Stanley Jones at Curwen Studio in two editions of 16 marked 'TP' (for the Curwen Studio) and 'AP' (for the artist)
Inscribed 'TP 14/16' b.l. and 'IF 84' b.r.

Ian Friend, Miles smiles, 1997–2016, india ink, gouache and crayon on Twinrocker paper, 48 x 48cm. Courtesy the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Queensland

Confluence [The Crystal Cloud of Knowledge] #3 2012 
Graphite and gouache on T.H. Saunders paper 
67 x 101 cm

Ian Friend, Biting the air #9 2004
watercolour, Indian ink, gouache and crayon
40 x 110 cms
Private collection, Brisbane