Janet Laurence


JANET LAURENCE is renowned as one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Her groundbreaking practice explores issues of the natural world and addresses our relationship to nature. Across photography, sculpture, video and installation, Laurence creates visually immersive environments to reflect on the mutability of nature, science, memory and loss. Through her extraordinary work, Janet Laurence offers us a deeply experiential and cultural relationship to the environment.

For more than 35 years, Janet Laurence’s profound concern for the fragility of the natural environment has been constant. She has delved increasingly further into this fascination with the interconnection of life forms and ecologies to produce work driven by themes of alchemical transformation, history and perception that is distinctive, complex and beautiful. She creates immersive environments that navigate the interconnections between organic elements and systems of nature. Within the recognised threat to so much of the life world she explores what it might mean to heal, albeit metaphorically, the natural environment, fusing this with a sense of communal loss and search for connection with powerful life forces.

Janet Laurence is well known for her public artworks and site-specific installations that extend from the museum and gallery into the urban and landscape domain. Recent significant projects and commissions include: a commission with The Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne (2017); an installation for The Pleasure of Love, October Salon, Belgrade (2016); Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef, for the Paris Climate Change Conference (2015) and the Paris International Contemporary Art Fair (2015), followed up by the installation Deep Breathing at the Australian Museum, Sydney (2016); Tarkine for a World in Need of Wilderness, Macquarie Bank Foyer, London (2011); In Your Verdant View, Hyde Park Building, Sydney (2010); Waterveil, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council; Memory of Lived Spaces, Changi T3 Airport Terminal, Singapore; Elixir, permanent installation for Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan (all 2006); The Australian War Memorial (in collaboration with TZG Architects), Hyde Park, London (2003); In the Shadow, Sydney 2000 Olympic Park, Homebush Bay (2000); Veil of trees, Sydney Sculpture Walk (with Jisuk Han); 49 Veils, award-winning windows for the Central Synagogue, Sydney (with Jisuk Han, 1999); The Edge of the Trees (with Fiona Foley), Museum of Sydney (1994); and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (with TZG Architects, 1993).

Despite a demanding schedule of public artworks and commissioned projects, Janet Laurence also exhibits widely in major art institutions and museums, including Australia, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong and the UK. Exhibitions include: Inside the Flower, IGA Berlin, Germany (2017); Force of Nature II, curated by James Putnam, The Art Pavilion, London (2017); the 13th Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador (2016); Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef, Muséum National D’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, (2015); After Eden, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney (2012) and Tarrawarra Museum of Art (2013); 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); In The Balance: Art for a Changing World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2010); Clemenger Award, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2009); and Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan (2003, 2006). She was also included in the 9th Biennale of Sydney (1992) and Australian Perspecta (1985, 1991, and 1997).

Janet Laurence lives and works in Sydney. A recipient of both a Rockefeller and Churchill Fellowship, she was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW, on the VAB Board of the Australia Council, and is currently a visiting fellow of the 2016/2017 Hanse-WissenschaftKolleg (HWK) foundation fellowship.

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.

For more information, visit the artist's website.