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Claire Grant

Milk Run

28 August — 07 October 2023

Long Wall | NorthSite Contemporary Arts
Claire Grant, Milk Run, installation view. Photo: Lee Wilkes

Milk Run pays tribute to the spectacular aerial landscape glimpsed out the plane window along Queensland's regional route.”

Claire Grant worked as a regional flight attendant for over a decade, spending thousands of hours in the sky above the east coast of Australia. Milk Run pays tribute to the spectacular aerial landscape glimpsed out the plane window and invites you to travel along the iconic route – CNS>TSV>MKY>ROK>BNE – all stops!

The phrase ‘milk run’ originated in World War II when combat aircrews used it to describe a mission with little danger, implying similarity to the prosaic rounds of the local milkman. In the airline industry the term is now used to describe a multi-stop, regularly scheduled flight by a single aircraft, often connecting remote or rural areas.

Far North Queensland’s own (in)famous Milk Run spans across a cloud filled sky printed in cyanotype – a historic photographic process commonly known as a blueprint. A light sensitive solution is applied to the delicate washi paper and exposed to the Queensland sunshine, revealing crisscrossed flight paths and navigation waypoints amongst the clouds.

The tilted aerial horizon is intersected by familiar landforms, inlets, and snaking rivers hand painted in a batik inspired wax resist technique. This panoramic scene pays homage to master printmaker Hokusai and his use of the synthetic pigment Prussian Blue, which is also formed during the cyanotype process. Printing on handmade Japanese paper further connects this Queensland landscape to the ukiyo-e tradition.

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