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Rosemary Laing: Burning Ayer #12

The Artist

According to the  Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) website, Rosemary Liang was born in 1959 in Brisbane.  Rosemary Laing creates project-based photographic work, often cinematic in vision and generally made with real-time performance and physical installation rather than digital manipulation. Her projects are often created in relation to cultural and/or historically resonant locations throughout Australia. With interventions undertaken in situ or using choreographed performance work, she engages with the politics of place and contemporary culture. Her projects draw upon both the histories of a place or situation and the conditions that create its contemporary circumstance. Accumulatively, Laing’s projects can form a kind of ongoing narrative, which tracks periods and their events that have had an impact upon cultural consciousness.

Rosemary Laing, Burning Ayer 12

The Work of Art

Burning Ayer #12  is a limited edition photographic print  of which this example is  the ninth of twelve printed. The image is one of a series by Laing  where she explores  wide open spaces and the effects of fire. Notice  the effect of the fire's light in the wide expanse of the landscape. In similar images  the contrast between light and dark is marked by thick smoke from the fires. There is also a sense of  drama  in Laing's images. With Burning Ayer #12, and the material burning there seems to be  like a still from a film, there is a sense of control  of the elements.  Take a look at 'ONE DOZEN UNNATURAL DISASTERS IN THE AUSTRALIAN LANDSCAPE #2'. Here, there is is the sense of contrast as marked above but  I feel there's less control and it emphasizes the subject title, 'unnatural disasters'.

Rosemary Laing Unnatural disasters

Laing is  very much the master of capturing the beauty of open spaces and  senses of movement. In a series of images titled 'Flight Research'  Laing explores  the human figure  in open space. The figure displays forms of beauty in all of the different positions as it is emphasized by the blue sky and open space.

Rosemary Laing Flight Research

Burning Ayer was  acquired by the University of Canberra in 2003.


The Museum of  Contemporary Art, Sydney