Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lake Macquarie City Gallery - Janet Laurence

A curious installation at Lake Macquarie City Gallery is alive with provocative content quite in opposition to the theme.  And this is the destruction of delicate ecosystems in our midst!

While we’re thriving in a society packed with abundance most of us give little thought to the sacrifices other species in our midst are giving.  Australian artist Janet Laurence has perceptively built a commentary aiming to create awareness of the tragedy humans all too readily ignore.

Scientific knowledge seems an imperative for the artist and acknowledges the intellectual capacity required to promote an effective translation of concepts perceived.  This relationship manifests in a conglomerate of glass apparatus and visual images.   The hope of these academic installations is they break down barriers allowing easy access to those unaware of the fortuitous circumstances of our Western lifestyle being dependant on the destruction of another.  Our reliance on the degradation of another human society to allow the prosperous capitalist regime adopted by the West is not touched on in this exhibition.  Ruin of natural environment is the essence.

This is an exhibition requiring time and perhaps knowledge to comprehend the intricacies of the artist’s vision.  But it’s a welcome opportunity to acknowledge the solidity of the academic artist, a profession all too readily dismissed as irrelevant to our position as an “economy”.  Encouraging curiosity is paramount and this exhibition promotes this effectively.  Perhaps the first question to bubble to the surface is “Why as humans are we willing to sacrifice our natural environment in the quest for the accumulation of “stuff” that next week we’ll relegate to the garbage bin in an attempt to declutter?”

It’s an irony bitter and bewildering bringing to mind the line by Lilly Allen from her song The Fear, “I am a weapon of massive consumption.  And it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function”.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer for Newcastlae

Until July 20th 2014

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