b. 1947, Australia

Janet Laurence Biography

Janet Laurence’s artistic dialogue with the environment is shaped within an ethical and judicial framework – words like ‘crimes’ and ‘forensic’ are used by Laurence in her titles to highlight the human fingerprint on the landscape and the contamination and destruction visible in the natural world. Plant matter, whether found in Janet Laurence’s photographic manifestations or in lab-like installations, are specimens for nurture and preservation, but simultaneously samplings for toxicology testing and evidence.

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Favoured materials such as aluminium, mirror and glass on which Janet Laurence transfers her photographic hallucinatory imagery create reflections and shadows, playing with the effects of light and inadvertently human perception. Laurence’s layering and mix of shiny, opaque and translucent surfaces conjures up a moody, haunting sensation; the viewer is at once taken into the world of fern and forest, but Laurence simultaneously anchors the viewer through the reflections of the built space in which he stands in as surfaces rebound.

Well known for her public commissions and architectural collaborations, Janet Laurence has completed significant national and international projects, such as Translucidus, for Qantas Lounge, Sydney International Airport, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (1993); The Edge of the Trees (with Fiona Foley), Museum of Sydney (1994); 49 Veils (with Jisuk Han), award-winning windows for the Central Synagogue, Sydney (1999); In the Shadow, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Homebush Bay (1998–2000); The Australian War Memorial (with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects), Hyde Park, London; The Green Between/ Botanical Veil, Promenade Hotel, Melbourne. The Breath We ShareThe Sidney Myer Commemorative Sculpture, Victoria (both 2003) and Waterveil, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council (2006). Verdant Veil, Changi Airport, Singapore, Water Veil, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council, The Memory of Lived Spaces, Changi T3 Airport Terminal, Singapore.

Janet Laurence exhibits widely and has an impressive record of representation in important group exhibitions, including the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) ; 2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, National Gallery of Victoria (2009); the 9th Biennale of Sydney (1992); and Australian Perspecta (1985, 1991, 1997). Following her solo exhibition in 1991 at Seibu Gallery, Tokyo, and since she was awarded an Australia Council studio residency in Tokyo in 1998, Laurence has exhibited regularly in solo and group exhibitions include Tokyo,Germany and Nagoya. She has twice been invited to create permanent installations for the Echigo- Tsumari Art Triennial in Japan (2003, 2006).

In 2012 the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Sydney commissioned a solo exhibition of Laurence’s work.

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