Ian Friend

Three Sculptural Images


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Ian Friend born 1951
Lithograph on paper
Image: 488 × 775 mm
Purchased 1985

Catalogue entry

Ian Friend born 1951

P77111 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.
Purchased from Curwen Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1985

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations from the artist come from a letter to the compiler dated 11 February 1988.

The artist was invited to produce this edition of work at the Curwen Studio in collaboration with John White and Stanley Jones. The arrangement allowed the artist to work with expert advice in a medium not previously explored in his work.

The work was drawn onto two separate plates using black oil pastel. The three forms relate, according to the artist, 'to three small waxes which I was working on with a view to casting in bronze'. In a letter to the compiler, dated 25 February 1988, the artist confirms that the waxes were never, in fact, cast. A further inspiration came from the graphic work of Philip Guston. Friend writes: 'I'd seen Guston's linographs and loved the directness and sureness with which he used the medium'. At the time the artist was working in the Print Department of the Tate Gallery, where a number of Gusson prints were acquired (P07999, P77009, P11072-11079) in 1983-4.

While not marking any significant shift in the artist's work, this print, he acknowledged, reflects many of his concerns including those explored in his most recent work. He describes the subject matter as follows: 'The subject is three male/female symbols in a landscape, relating to a lot of drawing I was doing at the time'. He continues, 'the work at the time was dealing with ways of combining male and female sensuality. A lot of drawings had sexual symbols set in a dark landscape - the print was a natural extension of this concern'. The artist believes the edition's title could have been more in keeping with other work he has produced. He writes: 'Curwen Gallery gave the work the title 'Three Sculptural Images', which in retrospect I'm not too keen on. It sounds like a Henry Moore title (not that Moore didn't make some terrific prints). I would prefer to call it "The Reduction of Anxiety" as it relates closely to a number of drawings with that title'. In a letter to the compiler dated 25 February 1988, however, the artist confirmed the existing title.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.369-70


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