Janet Laurence

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Janet Laurence (born 1947) is an Australian artist who works in mixed media and installation, based in Sydney. Her work has been included in major survey exhibitions, nationally and internationally and is regularly exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne and Japan.

Laurence's work explores a relationship to the natural world, often from an architectural context. She has exhibited in galleries and outside in site-specific projects, often involving collaborations with architects, landscape architects and environmental scientists.


Laurence is an environmental artist. Over more than 35 years she has made public artworks and site-specific installations. A recent project, Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef for both the Paris Climate Change Conference (2015),[1] presented one of Australia's greatest natural wonders to an international audience gathered in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2015. Laurence's artwork includes photos, videos and natural material like bleached corals and shells. It also features fish and turtle specimens borrowed from the Australian Museum and Paris's Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, where it was displayed.[2]

Laurence lives and works in Sydney. A recipient of both a Rockefeller[citation needed] and Churchill Fellowship,[citation needed] she was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW from 1995 to 2005,[3] on the VAB Board of the Australia Council and is currently a Visiting Fellow at COFA NSW University. She is also a council member of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.[4]

Laurence was the subject of John Beard's winning entry for the 2007 Archibald Prize.[5]



  • 2008: Crimes Against Nature, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2009: Things that Disappear, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, Australia
  • 2010: Abundant Australia: 11th Venice Architecture Biennale, Australian Pavilion, Venice, Italy[citation needed]
  • 2010: Handle With Care: 2008 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia[citation needed]
  • 2010: Waiting, 17th Biennale of Sydney: The Beauty of Distance – Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2010: In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2011: Found/Lost, China Arts Projects, Osage Gallery, Beijing, China[citation needed]
  • 2012: The Alchemical Garden of Desire, McClelland Gallery, VIC[citation needed]
  • 2012: In Memory of Nature, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2012: After Eden, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2012: Janet Laurence: Avalanche ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne Australia
  • 2013: Negotiating this World, NGV, Melbourne[citation needed]
  • 2013: Resistance, Fine Art Society, London, UK[citation needed]
  • 2013: SCANZ : 3rd Nature, New Plymouth, New Zealand[citation needed]
  • 2013: ½ Scene, Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF), Melbourne, VIC[citation needed]
  • 2013: Animate/Inanimate, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healsville, VIC[citation needed]
  • 2014: The Skullbone Experiment: A Paradigm of Art and Nature, Launceston Museum, Tasmania, Australia[citation needed]
  • 2014: What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me, FAS Contemporary, London[citation needed]
  • 2014: Blood and Chloropyll, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Australia[citation needed]
  • 2014: Residue, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, Australia
  • 2015: The Significant Other ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne Australia
  • 2015: Art Speaks Out, Ikonotv, Berlin[citation needed]
  • 2015: Till its Gone, Islanbul Modern, Turkey[citation needed]
  • 2015: Deep Breathing 2015Artists 4 Paris Muséum National D’Historie Naturelle, Paris[citation needed]
  • 2016: Deep Breathing (Resuscitation for the Reef) Australian Museum
  • 2016: Antrhopocene, Fine Arts Society Contemporary, London, UK[citation needed]
  • 2016: H2O Waterbar, Paddington Reservoir Gardens NSW[citation needed]
  • 2017: Nautilus Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte - Oldenburger Schloss, Germany
  • 2017: Moving Plants Rønnebæks Holm, Denmark
  • 2017: Inside the Flower, Internationale Garten Ausstellung (IGA), Berlin, Germany
  • 2018: What Colour is the Sacred ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne Australia
  • 2019: After Nature, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), Sydney, Australia

Permanent site-specific works[edit]

  • 2003: Elixir, Echigo-Tsumari Triennial, Japan, permanent installation[citation needed]
  • 2003: The Breath We Share, Sidney Myer Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic[citation needed]
  • 2006: Waterveil, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council, Melbourne[citation needed]
  • 2007: The Memory of Lived Spaces, Changi T3 Airport Terminal, Singapore[citation needed]
  • 2010: Ghost, Lake Macquarie Gallery, NSW[citation needed]
  • 2011: Tarkine (For a World in Need of Wilderness), Macquarie Bank, London, UK[citation needed]
  • 2015: Veiling Glass Medicine Maze, Novartis Sydney NSW[citation needed]

Awards and grants[edit]

  • 1982: Gold Coast City Art Purchase Award, Qld[citation needed]
  • 1986: Woollahra–Waverley Art Prize, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 1994: Pring Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 1994: Lake Macquarie Art Prize, NSW[citation needed]
  • 1994: Kedumba Drawing Award, Wentworth Falls, NSW[citation needed]
  • 1995: Royal Australian Institute of Architects ‘Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design’ for First Government House Place, Sydney, in collaboration with Fiona Foley and Denton Corker Marshall Architects[6]
  • 1996: Alice Prize, Alice Springs, NT[7]
  • 1997: Rockefeller Foundation (residency), Bellagio, Italy[citation needed]
  • 1996–98: Australia Council Fellowship[citation needed]
  • 1999: National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Award for Art in the Built Environment, Australia, for 49 Veils[citation needed]
  • 2000: McGeorge Fellowship, University of Melbourne, Melbourne[citation needed]
  • 2003: New Work Grant, Australia Council[citation needed]
  • 2006: Churchill Fellowship[8]
  • 2008–ongoing: Visiting Fellow, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2009: New Work Grant – Established, Australia Council[citation needed]
  • 2010: Alumni Award for the Arts, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, Sydney[citation needed]
  • 2013: John Glover Art Prize, Tasmania[citation needed]


Key collections in which Laurence's work is held include: NGA, Canberra; AGNSW, Sydney; NGV, Melbourne; QAG, Brisbane; AGSA, Adelaide; Artbank Australia Macquarie Bank Collection, Kunstwerk Summlung Klein, Germany.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ségolène Royal présente ses voeux pour cette année 2016 - vidéo Dailymotion". Dailymotion. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  2. ^ Taylor, Andrew (September 15, 2015). "Janet Laurence brings fragility of the Great Barrier Reef to Paris climate talks". Retrieved 5 March 2016 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ Periz, Ingrid (17 May 2016). "Collector's Dossier: Janet Laurence" (PDF). Art Collector. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Voiceless, the animal protection institute".
  5. ^ http://www.thearchibaldprize.com.au/winners/archibald
  6. ^ "Cultural + Civic". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  7. ^ "The Alice Prize". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Janet Laurence". Retrieved 5 March 2018.

External links[edit]