Contemporaries members were treated to an evening of art and alchemy last week, as we explored the industrial studio space of celebrated Australian artist Janet Laurence. Janet’s studio is airy and spacious, with cabinets and shelves housing all manner of strange and fascinating objects: antique maps, art books, plant samples, vintage laboratory glassware and a collection of taxidermy birds, alongside assemblage elements from old and new artworks.

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Amidst these collections of curios, guests sipped on Rogue Society gin cocktails and took in the insightful conversation between Janet and her Sydney gallerist, Dominik Mersch. They discussed Janet’s recent and upcoming projects, providing an insight into the lengthy creative and research process that goes into each of her multi-faceted works.

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Janet works with scientists, landscape artists and botanists in the production of her complex installations. As Dominik explained, “my favourite thing about Janet is her curiosity.” It is this unquenchable curiosity, and a deep concern for the natural environment, that drive Janet’s large-scale projects that can take many years to percolate and develop. The results transcend disciplinary boundaries, occupying a territory somewhere between art, science and alchemy. As Janet explained, “it’s wonderful to be able to create work that reaches beyond the art world.”

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Janet’s breathtaking work is currently on view across three Sydney venues:
Janet Laurence, Deep Breathing (Resuscitation for the Reef), Australian Museum Janet Laurence, Naturestruck, Dominik Mersch Gallery, until 3 September Troubled Waters, UNSW Galleries, until 5 November 


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