Janet Laurence’s work echoes architecture while retaining organic qualities and a sense of instability and transience. Her work occupies the liminal zones or meeting places of art, science, imagination and memory. Profoundly aware of the interconnection of all life forms, Laurence often produces work in response to specific sites or environments using a diverse range of materials. Alchemical transformation, history and perception are underlying themes.
Janet Laurence exhibits widely and has an impressive record of representation in important group exhibitions, including the 9th Biennale of Sydney (1992) and Australian Perspecta (1985, 1991, 1997). Following her solo exhibition in 1991 at Seibu Gallery, Tokyo, and since she was awarded an Australia Council studio residency in Tokyo in 1998, Laurence has exhibited regularly in solo and group exhibitions in Tokyo and Nagoya. She has twice been invited to create permanent installations for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial in Japan (2003, 2006).
Her most recent solo exhibitions in Australia include ‘Birdsong’, Object Gallery, Sydney; ‘Janet Laurence’, Jan Manton Gallery, Brisbane (both 2006); and ‘Greenhouse’, Sherman Galleries, Sydney (2005). A survey exhibition of her work was held in 2005 at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra.
Well known for her public commissions and architectural collaborations, Janet Laurence has completed significant national and international projects, such as the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (1993); ‘The Edge of the Trees’ (with Fiona Foley), Museum of Sydney (1994); ’49 Veils’ (with Jisuk Han), award-winning windows for the Central Synagogue, Sydney (1999); ‘In the Shadow’, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Homebush Bay (1998–2000); ‘The Australian War Memorial’ (with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects), Hyde Park, London; ‘The Breath We Share’, ‘The Sidney Myer Commemorative Sculpture’, Victoria (both 2003) and ‘Waterveil’, CH2 Building for Melbourne City Council (2006).
In 2006 Janet Laurence was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. She was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1996–2005) and is completing a PhD in ephemeral architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Her work is represented in major Australian and international public, corporate and private collections.
Acquired by the judge, Ann Thomson, from the 1994 Award.