Janet Laurence

Exploring notions of art, science, imagination, memory, and loss, Janet Laurence’s practice examines the interconnection of life forms and ecologies and observes the impact that humans have on the threatened, natural world. Laurence’s work addresses our relationship to nature through both site specific and gallery works. Experimenting with and working in varying mediums, Laurence continues to create immersive environments that navigate the interconnections between all living forms. Her practice has sustained organic qualities and a sense of transience, occupying the liminal zones, or places where art, science, imagination and memory converge.

Janet Laurence lives and works in Sydney, and was the Australian representative at United Nation’s Artists 4 Paris Climate 2015, in which Laurence brought international attention to the fragility of Australia’s World Heritage Great Barrier Reef through her multi-media work Deep Breathing (Resuscitation for the Reef). Through her multi-layered vitrine, which encloses photo and video works, sculptural objects, and natural materials, Laurence comments on the deteriorative effects of climate change on the natural planet and of aquatic life in particular. As Laurence explains, the aim of the work is ‘to create the imaginative possibility for healing our marine world’.

A recipient of both a Rockefeller and Churchill Fellowship, the Alumni Award for the Arts, UNSW, and the John Clover Art Prize, Laurence was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW, on the VAB Board of the Australia Council, and is currently Visiting Fellow at COFA NSW University.

Laurence exhibits both locally and internationally and has been represented in major curated and survey exhibitions including: Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef, Muséum National D’Histories Naturelle, Paris, France (2015), After Eden, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney (2012); Negotiating This World (2012) NGV, Melbourne; 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) and 9th Biennale of Sydney (1992); In The Balance; Art for a Changing World, MCA Sydney (2010); Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, NGV Melbourne (2009); The Adelaide Biennale (2008), Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan (2003,) Australian Perspecta (1985, 1991, 1997). Her major survey show ‘Janet Laurence: After Nature’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, is accompanied by Chief Curator Rachel Kent’s in-depth essay on her practice so far.

Major commissioned works include: The Australian War Memorial (in collaboration with TZG Architects), Hyde Park, London; Tarkine for a World in Need of Wilderness Macquarie Bank London, In the Shadow, Sydney 2000 Olympic Park; Waterveil, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council, Elixir, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan; and Memory of Lived Spaces, T3 Terminal Changi Singapore.

Key collections include: NGA, Canberra; AGNSW, Sydney; NGV, Melbourne; QAG, Brisbane; AGSA, Adelaide; Artbank Australia Macquarie Bank Collection, Kunstwerk Summlung Klein, Germany as well as numerous university, corporate and private collections nationally and internationally.  In 2012 the AGNSW acquired a major installation work ‘The Memory of Nature’, as part of the permanent collection.

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