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Australian art

Contemporary art


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flight research #2a



Rosemary Laing


1959 -


In the 'flight research' series Laing photographed a woman wearing a bridal dress suspended in the air. In some works she hovers over an extensive mountainous landscape seeming to defy the laws of gravity. In others such as this image there is a poignant sense of impending disaster as the bride tips forward hands outstretched, seeming to anticipate her eventual contact with the earth. The bright cerulean blue of the sky and the white of the brides dress make a dramatic contrast and seem symbolic, the blue suggesting infinite space and traditionally the heavens and the white dress carrying the weight of virginity, innocence and purity.

Laing has created several series around flight and movement including 'brownwork' photographed at Sydney airport in which figures interact with planes and tarmac in unexpected ways. However the 'flight research' and 'Bulletproofglass' series are the most enigmatic with their subject matter of hovering brides. These surreal images echo the role the bride has had in popular culture - in films such as 'Muriels wedding' (1994) - and in high culture in such paintings as Arthur Boyd’s Brides series. The symbolism of the bride remains powerful in modern and contemporary culture and Laing participates with her own images which suggest both freedom and transcendence but also impending tragedy and disaster.


Place where the work was made

Blue Mountains New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

type C photograph


ed of 3


103.3 x 103.3 x 5.7 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Andrew Cameron 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Rosemary Laing

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • Marriage: Love and Law, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, 30 Mar 2019–16 Jun 2019

Referenced in 4 publications


Graham Forsyth, Rosemary Laing: a survey 1995-2002, ‘Flight research spin 1998-99’, pg. 28-37, Sydney, 2003, 28.

Victoria Lynn, Rosemary Laing: gradience, 'Gradience', pg. 3-13, Sydney, 2000, 8. reference to the 'flight research' series

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Members events: November 11', pg. 47-49, Sydney, Nov 2011, 47 (colour illus.).

Vivienne Webb, The unquiet landscapes of Rosemary Laing, ‘Exploring place’, pg. 6-35, Sydney, 2005, 9, 10, 13, 43. reference to the 'flight research' series