The Billboard

when I leave the clouds by ArtBunker and light-trap press

September 2009 to April 2010

About the work

when I leave the clouds is a collaboration between ArtBunker: visual art craft and design projects (visual artist Ian Friend and arts professional Robyn Daw) and light-trap press (poet Angela Gardner and Research Fellow in e-humanities Kerry Kilner), specifically designed for the Kelvin Grove Road Billboard.

The artwork references the suspension of disbelief through screen culture (e.g. cinema), and the utopian aspirations of architecture. It invites the possibility of an imaginative escape through the use of words and the images they conjure.

when I leave the clouds draws inspiration from a series of works by Ian Friend, titled For John Painting. The billboard image was constructed using a linear composition of adjoining sheets of paper, with the intention of exploring horizontal spatial dynamics.

Overlaid and integrated with the image is the poem when I leave the clouds by Angela Gardner, written specifically for this project. According to the collective, Angela's words 'partly follow, and partly digress from, the underlying image, creating juncture and disjuncture, allowing the eye to meander and flow across the surface'. While the poem has been liberated from the conventions of reading horizontal lines vertically, it maintains coherence through the logical placement of the text which can be read left to right or as fragments, each line possessing its own integrity, its own concept.

This cross-disciplinary approach reflects the activities of the Creative Industries Precinct and reinterprets this for an audience beyond its boundaries. The billboard takes poetry and visual arts beyond the usual stylistic constraints (scale, convention), with word and image intersecting to create a greater whole.

Angela Gardner, Poet and partner, light-trap press

Angela Gardner's poetry translates narrative through a number of bright refracted lenses; through visual art, the theory of mind, drama theory (particularly the breaking down of the fourth wall), and through the metaphor of flight. She is interested in the visual dimension of night and the open emptiness of the sky to describe the numinous aspect of a conscious life; the subject of the poem when I leave the clouds. Angela has had a number of successful collaborations previously; with Ian Friend on the project Altazimuth, which resulted in a print publication; an artist's book of postcards with the poet Jill Jones, now in the collection at UQ's Fryer Library; and, in 2007, a poem using a painting by artist Dadang Cristanto as a starting point resulted in a dialog with him. Currently light-trap press is organising a collaboration between performance artist/printmaker Clyde McGill and poet Louise Waller which will result in a book-length publication.

Ian friend, Artist and partner, ArtBunker

Since 1993 Ian Friend has concentrated on using aqueous media on paper – including gouache, ink, casein and raw pigment, and crayon. He has sought to elevate work on paper as a primary medium rather than as adjunct to, or preliminary study towards, another medium such as oil on canvas. This has been reflected in the inclusion in exhibitions of national and international standing of work on paper and acquisition by public galleries and private collectors. In 1996 Ian collaborated with artists Kevin Todd and Sarah Lindsay on the Futures Technology Centre, Elizabeth College, Hobart, where he designed the surfaces of pre-cast concrete walls.

Kerry Kilner, Research Fellow, project manager and partner, light-trap press

Kerry Kilner is a research fellow in e-humanities with extensive experience in managing major national projects in the areas of Australian literature, theatre, magazine culture, early 20th century theatre practice and indigenous writing and storytelling. She is the Director of the web-based research facility for literary and print culture researchers, AustLit, where collaborative outcomes for researchers at many Australian universities are central to its success. Kerry has published and presented conference papers in the area of digital research practice in the humanities and the uptake of e-research by literature scholars and is an editor of the multi-volume Bibliography of Australian Literature. The place of literature in new media forms is an ongoing research interest.

Robyn Daw, Writer, curator, educator and partner ArtBunker

Robyn Daw curates exhibitions for public and private organisations and individuals, and assists contemporary artists and designers to develop their own exhibitions. She has worked in leading contemporary art spaces, university and state galleries, including as Manager of Education at the National Gallery of Australia. In 2003 Robyn worked as Curator (Public Programs) at QUT Art Museum where she curated the exhibitions Architects of Glamour, Masters of Style: excerpts from a century of fashion photography and The Brisbane Line: Early Modern Queensland Women Artists. Robyn's publications include catalogues and education resources on contemporary, modern and historic art, craft and design, and critical essays and reviews in numerous catalogues and magazines. She is the immediate past President of Craft Australia, the peak national body for craft and design, and has recently curated the exhibition Blurred Boundaries: intersecting territories of art, craft and design with Russell Milledge of Cairns.

Image: ArtBunker and light-trap press when I leave the clouds 2009/10