March 19, 2020
An insightful interview with Janet Laurence has been published by Studio International, delving into her recent institutional shows and her early days as a flying artist when “White Australians didn’t have a way of seeing our landscape.”
Interviewer Janet McKenzie writes, “Laurence was the artist I felt compelled to call as bushfires raged in Australia, creating apocalyptic scenes and unprecedented terror, with the loss of unique flora and more than a billion animals. In an attempt to comprehend the nation’s loss, and the ramifications internationally, one also questions what artists can do to accelerate the process to bring about change.”
Considering the discordance between European agricultural practices and the Australian landscape, Laurence looked back to her her time as a flying artist in the 1980s:
“What I learned from the flying art school was that some of the big sheep stations that I knew as a child suddenly looked like arid desert lands. They were very depleted and depressed compare with my memory of them and, of course, that change had taken place in a very short time. … my job as a flying artist was to travel to remote properties and to teach or encourage artists to work with what was there in front of them. I found that they did not really look at what was in front of them; instead, they were painting a version of the imitation of landscape that the first white artists to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries produced.”
Sign up to be the first for exclusive gallery news, international events, opening information and updates on our artists.