Ian Friend

Ian Friend was born in Eastbourne UK in 1951. He studied art at Exeter and Birmingham Colleges of Art in the 1960s and 70s and rounded off his education at Slade School of Fine Art in London. He began exhibiting in 1975 and has had works acquired by the British Museum, Tate Gallery and the Arts Council of Great Britain. He arrived in Melbourne in 1985 to take up a position in the Victorian College of the Arts, then moved to Ballarat, then to Launceston in 1993 and moved to Brisbane in 1997. Friend’s work was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, state collections in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, and numerous university galleries: Griffith University, La Trobe University, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of Western Australia, and other regional, and corporate collections.

Ian Friend works with an absolutely minimal palette. His processes lie somewhere between drawing and printing. And what emerges is a chorus of rich tonal subtleties, and emotional presence. In the catalogue for his for recent exhibition ‘Musaeum: Fragments of Former Worlds’ at Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Friend discusses the early influences on his art practice that occurred while maintaining the trolleys at the British Museum.  This job came with a master key issued to Friend each morning by security, giving him as it turned out, five years of access to every single Museum department. Friend says “what better place to earn money, and absorb the knowledge I craved … embedded in the residual layers of civilisation.” Les perspecteurs 2011 is a work from this exhibition. There is a sense in this work of night travel through quiet places, encountering the strange and wonderful. Could this be time spent after hours in one of those British Museum departments? The title of the work refers to the tiny square pyramids adrift across the surface that symbolise the unresolvable philosophical question about perspective. Does it firm up reality or create a deeply personal view?

Les perspecteurs
Indian ink, gouache, crayon and pen on Arches paper
90 × 124 cm
view at The Framer
61 Vulture St
West End
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