Rosemary Laing

bulletproofglass #7, 2002
Type C photograph, number 10 from an edition of 15
70.0 x 112.0 cm
signed, dated,titled and numbered (on the reverse)

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Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Private collection, Sydney

Another from the edition was exhibited in
'The unquiet landscapes of Rosemary Laing', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 23 March-5 June 2005

Another from the edition was illustrated in
V Webb, 'The unquiet landscapes of Rosemary Laing', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2005, illus. p.56
Abigail Solomon-Godeau, 'Rosemary Laing', Piper Press, Sydney, 2012, illus. p.114

Famously steeped in political disillusionment, this is a brilliant image from 'bulletproof glass' (2002): the sister series to Rosemary Laing’s 'flight research' (1999).

Laing’s bride flails theatrically, marked by a bullet wound to the chest; where once she soared in free-flight, apparently liberated from the effects of gravity and the weight of the world below. Pigeons join her now-sideways descent, obscuring her face with their violent flapping. The sun from a brilliant sky shines on her exposed, stocking-feet.

If, as Solomon-Godeau remarks, Laing’s bride in 'flight research' was ‘suffused with the exhilaration of heightened hope and renewal’ in the midst of 99’s Public Referendum Debates – this counter move, to ‘choreograph her assassination’ three years later, must be seen as an expression of reality biting: an ode to ‘the dashed hopes and heightened expectations of previous years.’ (Solomon-Godeau, Abigail, 'Rosemary Laing', Piper Press, 2012, pgs 30-31)

  • bulletproofglass #7

Image courtesy of Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and the artist

View artist profile

Rosemary Laing is a photo-based artist with a painter’s eye. Her highly detailed, intentional compositions meditate upon humankind’s complicated relationship to the natural environment. The resulting images combine a sublime appreciation of the distinct Australian landscape with highly choreographed human interventions that she integrates within nature in what amounts, in essence, to a transient form of land art.

Born in 1959 in Brisbane, Laing has been working and exhibiting since the 1980s. She trained as a painter in the late-1970s before turning to photography, which was at first just a form of reference material. Laing rose to prominence with her flight research (1999) and Bulletproof glass (2002) series of floating brides, images that defy reason in their composition and surreal quality, especially since they were shot without the assistance of digital composition.

In 2017-18, Laing was the subject of a major survey of her work from the last three decades at the TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria. In 2015, two of her photographic series – greenwork (1995) and brownwork (1996-97) – were shown in full in Rosemary Laing: transportation, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. An earlier major survey, The Unquiet Landscapes of Rosemary Laing, was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 2005, touring in 2006 to Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark. She has participated in multiple biennials, including the Biennale of Sydney (2008); the Venice Biennale (2007); the Busan Biennale (2004); and the Istanbul Biennale (1995).

In 2019, Laing received the Overseas Photographer Award at the 35th Higashikawa Awards, Hokkaido, Japan, in career recognition of photographic achievements such as weather (2006); leak (2010) and Buddens (2017). A monograph on Laing’s work was published by Prestel, New York, in 2012, written by Abigail Solomon-Godeau.