The Impossible Garden

30/05/2020 - 30/08/2020

As part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, 'The Impossible Garden' - an exhibition of richly decorative floral still lifes by Auckland photographer Emma Bass will feature in the grand, 1870s ballroom at historic Alberton. Blurring the boundaries between photography, painting and collage, the works examine the beauty of nature, with photographed prints of 17th century Dutch and Flemish examples as a starting point.

Ode to Ambrosius Bosschaert and Matisse
Ode to Ambrosius Bosschaert and Matisse. Image: Emma Bassexpand/collapse

Exploring beauty though a manipulated lens, the already "impossible bouquets"  - constructed with elements from mismatched seasons and in distorted perspectives – are further embellished with objects, natural phenomena and gold gilded Matisse-inspired cut-outs, amplifying their beguiling unreality.

The illusory perfection of the flower portraits fuse the heritage of the masters with a contemporary sensibility to recontextualise the genre in the 21st century.

To complement your visit, learn more in this free podcast produced by Art Ache with the support of the Albert-Eden Local Board. Available on iTunes and Spotify.

Artist's Talk

Learn more about Bass’s 'floral portraits' and her practice, in a free Artist Talk on Saturday 1 August at 2pm, followed by tea. Tickets include tea & scones and house entry.

Temporary exhibition closures

We apologise that the exhibition will not be open on Saturday 1 August after midday due to the Artist Talk and on Sunday 2 August after midday due to a private function.

Event Details


  • Saturday 30 May - Sunday 30 August
  • 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Alberton is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Artist's Talk - Saturday 1 August
  • 2pm

How Much?

Free entry to the exhibition. Admission to the rest of the house $10 adults, children and Heritage New Zealand members free. Artist's Talk: $15 includes tea & scones and house entry.

Make a Booking

Bookings essential for the Artist Talk as places are limited. Please contact Alberton - or phone (09) 846 7367.


  • 100 Mt Albert Road
  • Mt Albert
  • Auckland
  • 1025

Contact Information

Opening Hours

  • Wednesday - Sunday
  • 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.


Adults: $10 Children free Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.