Born 1947 in Sydney, Australia.
Lives and works in Sydney.
1. Underlying, 2016
Production 56th October Salon, 2016
Video projection, 11’
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. Janet Laurence has had a long and profound engagement with the ‘life-world’. Spanning a period of over twenty-five years, her practice has extended to painting, sculpture, installation, photography, architectural and landscape interventions. The major themes that have emerged in her work include: the relationship between the museum, the natural world, and notions of preservation; the exploration of hybrid landscapes that involve a fusion of natural and urban elements; alchemy and the transformation of elements from one state to another; and the human impact on the environment. (…) She asks us to look, hear, feel, smell and look again at the natural world – its architecture, its cultural history, its root system, the flux of light, space and colour.
Laurence explores what it might mean to heal, albeit metaphorically, the natural environment. Trees are the lungs of our cities – they exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen – and they usually live for several generations. Today, however, very old trees are dying in our cities, while the crops and fields in the outback have been transformed into vast barren expanses. Janet Laurence fuses this sense of communal loss with a search for connection with powerful life-forces. Her work alerts us to the subtle dependencies between water, life, culture and nature in our eco-system. In the face of this, we yearn for a form of alchemy, for the power of enchantment or transformation. It seems that the only place for that sensation is the place of art. In the tradition of Joseph Beuys, and some of the Arte Povera artists from the 1960s, such as Jannis Kounellis or Mario Merz, Janet Laurence reminds us that art can act as a kind of transformation point for ideas and it can provoke its audience into a renewed awareness about our environment.’