title_ Veil of Trees

date_ 1999

materials_ 100 red forest gums (Eucalyptus terreticornis), 21 glass panels – laminated and enclosing seeds and ash with Australian poetry, Corten-steel panels containing LED lighting

location_ Sydney Sculpture Walk, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney, Australia

collaboration_ Jisuk Han

text_ Veil of Trees
In this installation of 1999 (with Jisuk Han), Laurence’s concerns and techniques are made evident. The work is anchored in history, and memory, and achieves a state of regeneration. The piece is architectural in its approach to the natural environment and through the fashioning of form and materials achieves a melding of the recently fabricated and the timelessness of nature. “Veil of Trees” is described in the Sydney Sculpture Walk Program as a one hundred meter curvilinear passage of new red gums, native grass planting, and glass panels containing ash, honey, seeds of indigenous plants, and resin, which runs along a grassed ridge between two roads in Sydney’s Domain. Some of the glass panels are engraved with quotations taken from various poems and essays by Australian authors, musing on the life of trees. The installation refers to an original stand of red gums laid low by the axe during early European settlement. Its message is moral and redemptive. In contrast to “Edge of the Trees”, the passage of the work is light and open and pastoral. The LED lights in the panels illuminate the passage by night creating a poetic and fluid environment that reflects both the architectural and natural surroundings. The installation stands half way between the real world of the trees and the shifting reflective world of the glass panels. Part is tangible: part is fleeting. This is an expanding work that exploits glass’s ability to extend the object and relate beyond itself, melding its own presence with that in front and behind its screen, connecting the trees in communion with the work. Paradoxical and ambiguous relationships occur, opening up endless possibilities for interpretation. Important among these are the parallels suggested between the human body and its dwelling in nature, the human body and its empathy with Laurence’s installation, the surrounding landscape and its melding with the glass and new plantings, and the symbiosis of art-nature within the work itself. This creation, with its thought-provoking revelations, suggests the possibilities for re-creation through the exploration and extension of what still remains of the natural world in the city.

text by Jennifer Taylor, excerpt from “Artist + Environment: Janet Laurence and the Healing of Place” 2000