For over thirty years Janet Laurence has created evocative, poignant and pioneering work that deals with the complex relationship between manmade and natural environments, making nature at once her subject and her object. The Ferment followed on from numerous museum exhibitions in Australia, notably a permanent installation set amidst the historic collections at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the award of the 2013 Glover Art Prize.
The scope and inventiveness of her artistic enquiry is staggering. Since the 1970s she has worked with painting, photography, sculpture, site-specific installation and architectural intervention. Despite her remarkable multidisciplinary approach, Laurence remains utterly focused on a subject that cannot be exhausted or singularly defined.
Laurence has long been drawn to the way in which we study, observe, collect and present the natural world and throughout her career she has returned to imagery derived from scientific laboratories, museums of natural history, greenhouses and botanical gardens. Removed from their clinical and academic origins, Laurence transforms these motifs into poetic, ghostly creations that correspond neither solely to the laws of science or nature. These are no doubt beautiful presentations and doubly important as they have a very considered and powerful point to make.
There is a duality at the heart of her work. She endlessly enjoys juxtaposing opposites including: science and nature; growth with decay; stasis and yet flux; art that is science and reality against memory. These are the ways in which Laurence takes the viewer to the heart of her practice, which is to show the ‘interconnectedness of things’.