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Title

The memory of nature


Artist

Janet Laurence

Australia

1949 -


About

Janet Laurence’s sculptural installations address the fragility of natural environments and questions of sustainability. Her works emphasise states of transformation as well as cycles of life and death, typically mingling organic matter and scientific instruments with references to museum modes of display.

'The memory of nature' includes materials reprised from an earlier work by Laurence titled 'Waiting: a medicinal garden for ailing plants', which was installed in the Royal Botanical Gardens for the 2010 Biennale of Sydney. Assuming the form of a makeshift glasshouse, 'Waiting' functioned as an ‘intensive care unit’ for sick plants that evoked a state of environmental crisis. In stark contrast, 'The memory of nature' presents to viewers the aftermath of that effort, situating the carefully preserved remains of now-dead plants alongside other objects such as taxidermied owls and burnt bones. Evoking the form of both museum vitrines and historical monuments, the work stands as a memorial to nature now lost.


Details


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia


Date

2010


Media category

Installation


Materials used

acrylic, scientific glass, dried plants, seeds, sulphur, salt, amethyst, taxidermied owls, shellac, tulle, wood, burnt bones, hand bones, hand-blown glass, oil paint, mirrors


Dimensions

180.5 x 300.5 x 170.3 cm overall


Credit

Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group and the Contemporary Collection Benefactors with the generous assistance of Geoff Ainsworth AM, Peter Braithwaite, Sally Breen, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Ginny & Leslie Green, Michael Hobbs, Ray Wilson OAM 2012


Location

Not on display


Accession number

125.2012.a-cc


Artist information

Janet Laurence

Works in the collection

5


Place

Where the work was made
Sydney

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 12 publications

Bibliography


Jane Devery (extract from essay for Clemenger Prize NGV 2009., In Memory of Nature: Janet Laurence, 'Foreword' by Sharni Lloyd; 'Janet Laurence', Coffs Harbour, 2011, cover (colour illus., detail), i (colour illus.), iii (colour illus., detail). Not paginated

Fiona Barbouttis, Foundation Newsletter #24, 'CCB comes of age', pg. 6-7, Sydney, Jul 2014, 6, 7 (colour illus.).

Felicity Fenner, Art in America: international review, 'Biennial: so far away, and yet so near', pg. 45-50, New York, Sep 2010, 45 (colour illus.), 48. Note: article refers to ‘WAITING- A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants’, an earlier version of the work included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010.

Felicity Fenner, Art & Australia, 'A hospital for plants: The healing art of Janet Laurence', pg. 64-67, Sydney, 2010, 66 (colour illus., detail), 67 (colour illus., detail). Note: article refers to ‘WAITING- A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants’, an earlier version of the work included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010.

Sue Gardiner, Art news New Zealand, 'Ministering to a fragile planet', pg. 84-89, Auckland, Spring 2010, 84 (colour illus.). Note: article refers to ‘WAITING- A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants’, an earlier version of the work included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010.

Glasshouse Regional Gallery (Editor), Janet Laurence: in memory of nature + Sue Healey: reading the body, 'Janet Laurence: In Memory of Nature 11 August – 9 October 2011', Port Macquarie, 2011, (illus., detail). Not paginated

Janet McKenzie., Studio International, 'A letter from Sydney: July 2010'; 'II. Janet Laurence: Waiting - A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants.', United Kingdom, Jul 2010, (colour illus., detail). Note: article refers to ‘WAITING- A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants’, an earlier version of the work included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010; viewed 26th June 2012, http://www.studio-international.co.uk/reports/letter-from-sydney-2010.asp; not paginated

Dolla S. Merrillees, Janet Laurence: After Eden / Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 'An interview with Janet Laurence', pg. 73-105, Sydney, 2012, 102 (colour illus., detail), 103 (colour illus., detail), 104 (colour illus.), 105 (colour illus., detail).

Ingrid Periz, Antennae: the journal of nature in visual culture, 'Waiting: A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants', pg. 73-79, Autumn 2011, 73 (colour illus.), 74, 75 (colour illus. detail), 76, 77 (colour illus., detail), 78 (colour illus.), 79. Note: article refers to ‘WAITING- A Medicinal Garden for Ailing Plants’, an earlier version of the work included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010; viewed 27th June 2012 http://www.antennae.org.uk/ANTENNAE%20ISSUE%2018.docx.pdf

Ingrid Periz., What can a garden be?, 'Janet Laurence: what makes a garden?', Sydney, Sep 2010, cover (colour illus.). Not paginated

Jill Sykes, Look, 'The Memory of Nature: Contempo helps to buy a new AGNSW acquisition', pg. 16-17, Sydney, Aug 2012, cover (colour illus., detail), 11 (colour illus.),16 , (colour illus.), 17 (colour illus., detail). pg. 17 features three colour illustration details.

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, 'New Australia', pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 26.