Anthropocene: Angela Palmer and Janet Laurence

17 - 27 November 2015

In 2015 The Fine Art Society presented Anthropocene: an exhibition of works by Angela Palmer and Janet Laurence. 

Anthropocene (from the Greek anthropo – ‘man’, and cene –‘new’) is the name used to denote the proposed new geological era due to supersede the current Holocene epoch as a formal scientific recognition of the prevailing and irrevocable impact of human life on earth. 

Both artists share an interest in the changing face of the environment and humanity’s effect on the planet and will present, shown alongside each other for the first time, works reflecting this ever pressing issue. 


Angela Palmer is a recognised Scottish artist whose work explores the notion of ‘mapping’. She has worked with subjects as diverse as the internal architecture of the human brain and the wider geography of the planet.

To mark the advent of the Anthropocene, Palmer has created a 'spine' of rocks, sourced from the length and breadth of Britain, allowing us to take a 3000m year walk through our nation’s geological history. The artist’s sculptural timeline will start with the most ancient 2 - 3 billion year old rocks found in North West Scotland and span every geological period up to the Ice Age. Through the sequence of rocks, we will be propelled from our country’s origin in the Southern Hemisphere - where Scotland and Northern Ireland were separated from England and Wales by the Iapatus Ocean - to our merging as a nation as we slowly drifted northwards, across the Equator, and towards our current location in the Northern Hemisphere. The rocks will be polished on one side - exposing for the first time the magnificent 'underbelly’ of Britain in a complete geological sequence - while on the reverse the stones will be left rough, as we may encounter them in the landscape today. The final, 17th element will represent the Anthropocene, a ‘rock-like’ sculpture created by Palmer in mirror polished steel, to reflect the onlooker.


Janet Laurence is a renowned Australian installation artist and photographer, whose work examines the impact of mankind on the threatened natural world. Laurence is artist in residence  at the Australian Museum in Sydney and is currently presenting Deep Breathing: a body of work that relates to the impact of human activity on the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, looking at the consequences of global warming and human activity on the marine world. In the lead up to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) she presented an installation located at the entrance of Grande Galerie de l’Evolution at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, with an accompanying video displayed at the Tropical Aquarium of Palais de la Porte Dorée, and photographs and collages to be presented in the gallery.