Janet Laurence ‘After Nature’ Survey Exhibition at MCA


After Nature, the first major survey of Janet Laurence’s career, is now showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presenting work from Laurence’s expansive career, the exhibition will features a range of work from sculpture, installation, photography, and video.

For over 30 years, Laurence has explored the interconnection of all living things – animal, plant, mineral – through a multi-disciplinary approach. She has employed diverse materials to explore the natural world in all its beauty and complexity, and to highlight the environmental challenges it faces today: the era of the Anthropocene.

Janet Laurence: After Nature includes key works from the artist’s career, with loans from public institutions around Australia and the MCA Collection work Cellular Gardens (where breathing begins) (2005). They encompass her alchemical works of the early 1990s that use metal plates, minerals, organic substances and lightboxes, through to her installations of the 2000s and beyond, incorporating plant and animal specimens within transparent vitrines and ‘wunderkammer’ environments. Laurence’s works reflect on the fragility of the natural world, its plight and potential restoration.

Central to the exhibition is a major new MCA commission, entitled Theatre of Trees, which brings together the last decade of Laurence’s research into plants, their medicinal and healing powers, and trees.

This exhibition has evolved from two decades of collaboration between Janet Laurence and MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, who curated Laurence’s exhibition Muses at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne in 2000.

Janet Laurence 
After Nature
1 March – 10 June 2019
MCA: Gallery Level 1

Key Links:
Purchase Catalogue
Read the Curatorial Essay by MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent
MCA behind-the-scenes short film

Press Coverage:
Talking with Trees event series listed in UNSW Newsroom
Review in The Age
Review in The Australian
Review in Art Guide
Review in Art Almanac
Review in the Sydney Morning Herald

Image: Janet Laurence’s ‘After Nature’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2019. Photograph: Zan Wemberley.