Between heaven and earth: The art of Rosemary Laing

Butler, Rex (2007) Between heaven and earth: The art of Rosemary Laing. Art and Australia, 44 4: 560-569.

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Author Butler, Rex
Title Between heaven and earth: The art of Rosemary Laing
Journal name Art and Australia
ISSN 0004-301X
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 44
Issue 4
Start page 560
End page 569
Total pages 10
Place of publication St Leonards, NSW, Australia
Publisher Fine Art Publishing
Language eng
Subject 419999 The Arts not elsewhere classified
750299 Arts and leisure not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Despite the patriotic song celebrating our 'radiant Southern Cross', how many artists here have actually depicted our skies? Where are Australia's Turner, Constable and Claude? There are glimpses in Streeton, atmospheric effects in the impressionists, and a number of contemporary artists have finally turned to it, but throughout the great nationalistic period of Australian art the sky as subject matter seems to have been forbidden. In Frederic McCubbin's claustrophobic bush, we are lost, unable to do much more than look for a way out. In the steeply rising wheatfields and deserts of Sidney Nolan and Fred Williams, the horizon is barely there, a mere compositional device to prevent the canvas from becoming flat...

The 'weather' series, returning to the geographical specificity that characterises Laing's earlier work, is shot in part around the biblically-named southern New South Wales coastal town of Eden. The place is known both for being an early whaling station and its preponderance of severe thunderstorms. It is perhaps too much to suggest that the storm Laing depicts is a judgement by God, a form of retribution for past crimes against nature. She is not suggesting a directly interventionist God in this sense. Whatever causes these storms remains firmly off-camera. But the heavens have always been the symbol of what is not known, what cannot be controlled by us, what remains forever out of reach. They are that place where the future is born, the heavens stand for the fate that more and more seems to be approaching and also for the slim possibility that something may arise before this to save us.
Keyword Original Creative Works - Textual work
Q-Index Code C1
Additional Notes Publication date: Winter 2007.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
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School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Thu, 11 Mar 2010, 12:35:17 EST by Thelma Whitbourne on behalf of School of Communication and Arts