exhibition from 21/01–10/03/2017


About Rosemary Laing´s series "Paper" 2013  All motives are hand-printed and hand-coloured by the artist. 

Rosemary Laing´s works evolve from the interventions, which she builds in real in Australian landscapes and totally removes after the shooting took place.

Laing's pictures are evocative and symbolically open-ended, with enough suggestiveness to stimulate the poet George Alexander to write beautiful lines. He sees ''a cacophony of printed voices'' on the soil, a ''cultural carpet of current events and mercenary babble''. Ironically, paper is a forest product; and its return to the site of its material manufacture, after being imprinted with all the energies that pulled it into the economy, is uncanny. Now, as Alexander says, it is ''typographic stew, falling apart like old lacework, dissolving like paint''. It signals another kind of weathering, a constant displacement of one voice by another, as each column or advertisement is washed away by another in a torrent of messages. The media still have a physical incarnation that makes this morass more tangible. The fragile paper still supports all the images and words that are now spread out in the bush in putrifying overlap; and with this decomposition, the photographs stage the return of metaphor. It is the mire of ideas, the sludge, the pulp, the scum, as cynical readers - or even rival newspapers - describe what is in the press. Laing's wasteland of verbal and visual garbage is also a kind of painted layer upon a grand canvas. Not only is it the sacred land of the Wodi Wodi people (of the Yuin nation in NSW) but it's a property on the Shoalhaven River known as Bundanon, bought by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd, and subsequently trusted to artists for residencies, which Laing has taken up. Numerous paintings have been produced there, notably by Boyd and then by other artists in residence. Though not a painter, Laing's work has some curious painterly qualities, not just in the mottled tones caused by the newspaper but in the declaration of a perspectival plane upon which the trees grow. Artists don't enjoy painting chaos; and much of the Australian bush is unpaintable. Clearings or viewpoints are sought, so that the land behaves a bit like a canvas on the horizontal plane to inform the vertical canvas of the artist. In addition, Laing's intervention has caused leaf litter to pile up around logs, which underlines their presence, as if by an emphatic drawing process. The whitish mantle of newsprint brings all objects into painterly relief. With a pictorial bias, the horizontal volumes stand out in the same way a painter might bulk out the shadows with an underscore of mark-making. Ghostly colour and melancholy connotations: the same newspaper that is mush is also a monument to the vitality of its time. In the end, Laing seems to say, our best traces get pulped with the worst, as the forest of progress is consumed by the bleaching of time.


Rosemary Laing *1959 lives in Sydney

Selected Public Collections:

Albury Regional Gallery, Albury

ARCO Foundation, Madrid, Spain

Art Institute of Chicago, US

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Artbank, Sydney, Australia

Australian Capital Equity Collection, Perth, Australia 

Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia

BHP Billiton, Australia

Briar Art Trust, Adelaide, Australia

Deutsche Bank, Sydney, Australia

DZ Bank, Germany

Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain

Esk Collection, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Foundation Belgacom, Brussels, Belgium

Gippsland Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia

Goldman Sachs, New York, USA

Goldman Sachs, Sydney, Australia

Griffith University Collection, Brisbane, Australia

Ipswich Regional Gallery, Ipswich, Australia

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA 

Monash Gallery of Art, Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia

Monash University Collection, Melbourne, Australia

Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) Ohio, USA

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, Australia

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Norton Family Foundation, Santa Monica, California, USA

Progressive Corporation Collection, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia

Refco Corporation, Chicago, USA

Stern Collection, New York, USA

Sydney Airport Corporation, Sydney, Australia

Townsville Regional Gallery, Townsville, Australia

University of Technology Collection, Sydney, Australia

University of Canberra Collection, Canberra, Australia

William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, USA

Yarra and Flinders Collection, Melbourne, Australia

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan