Art Essays

Janet Laurence: After Nature

Published March 19, 2019



Janet Laurence: After Nature

Rachel Kent ed.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Hardback, 2019, 264 pp

I’ve got my reservations about Janet Laurence’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but there’s no disputing the quality of the catalogue. The designer, Claire Orrell, should win some sort of award for a book that draws on Laurence’s art and preoccupations to create a really imaginative package in which photos, text and inserts create a sympathetic framework for the show. The essays are also pretty good, although two excellent writers, Terence Maloon and Iain McCalman, venture uncharacteristically into hyperbole in describing Laurence’s achievements. I could speculate that when a writer is unsure about his or her subject it’s easy to pump up the praise by way of drowning out the doubts. On the other hand, maybe they just liked the work more than I did.