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Rosemary Laing

There is a strong performative element in much of Rosemary Laing’s work. Rather than relying on digital manipulation, Laing uses physical installations, performers and a team of generous supporters to create her startling and uncanny photographs. Incongruous elements are often juxtaposed in these staged scenarios to open up the photographs to a range of metaphorical and allegorical associations. We might see a bride falling through the air above the Blue Mountains (flight research (1998-2000)), a sumptuous carpet covering a forest floor (groundspeed (2001)), or a collection of Ikea-style furniture massed in the Australian landscape (one dozen unnatural disasters in the Australian Landscape (2003)).

Other photographs are more documentary in style. The result of research trips to particular locations, some of Laing’s documentary-style photographs become ‘prelude’ images that lead to other series. Issues of immigration are explored in welcome to Australia (2004), taken at the former Woomera Detention Centre, which uses black humour to critique Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Laing’s work also examines relationships between people and technology via themes of speed, movement and flight. The earlier series, greenwork (1995) and brownwork (1996-1997), focus on the airport as a locus for these issues.