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ARTISTS | Ian Friend


From his studio in Ipswich, Queensland, Ian Friend creates subtle and evocative works on paper using pigment, ink and gouache. With a fascination for alchemy between materials and an obsession with hand-made art papers, sourced worldwide, Friend’s works are made from the finest materials and developed using techniques which have been refined over many decades. Though materiality is an integral part of his practice, his works also reflect a rich engagement with jazz, poetry and architecture. Friend has developed work in response to contemporary poet Jeremy Prynne, and with composer Martin Freidel, among others.

Born in Eastbourne, England, Friend migrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1985 and has since lectured in drawing and painting in several Australian universities while maintaining his art practice and exhibiting in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Friend is represented in numerous international public collections, among them The British Museum and Tate Gallery, London, Arts Council of Great Britain. Within Australia he is represented at the Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston plus a host of university and regional galleries around the country.

Ian Friend, Breath II (for Santiago Bose), Indian ink, gouache and crayon on paper, 2000-2014, 103×130


Angel Song, 2017

City Ghosts, 2016

Echo, 2015

Ghost Milk, 2013

But These Things Also, 2011



Blue Silence | Ian Friend

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.
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Ian Friend Angel Song install image

Angel Song | Ian Friend

With a career spanning four decades, Ian Friend's new paintings on paper encapsulate many of the artist's longstanding concerns. Friend's work conjures his current thinking on political and social issues while also being developed in response to music, poetry and literature.
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Ian Friend, Tracing the Paths of Memory – Biting the Air I, 2010, casein, pigment and crayon on Khadi paper, 76x56cm

Ghost Milk | Ian Friend

Ian Friend's initial encounter with quality fine art paper was courtesy of his first art teacher, Miss Phyllis Johnstone (a fellow student of Henry Moore) when the young student was ten years old. In the decades since, Ian Friend has maintained his love affair with paper....
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Ian Friend, But these things also #6, 2010-2011, oil on linen, 200x150cm

But These Things Also | Ian Friend

Poetry has been a constant source of inspiration for Ian Friend throughout his 35 year career. The title of this exhibition is drawn from poetry by English poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917)…
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