The Impossible Garden

30/05/2020 - 26/07/2020

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.

Artist's Talk

Learn more about Bass’s 'floral portraits' and her practice, in a free Artist Talk on Sunday 7 June at 1:30 for 2pm, followed by tea. Emma will be in conversation with Aimee Rafini from Art Ache and the talk will be recorded for a podcast.

Event Details


  • Saturday 30 May - Sunday 26 July
  • 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Alberton is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Artist's Talk - Sunday 7 June
  • 1.30pm for 2pm

How Much?

Free entry to the exhibition and Artist Talk. Admission to the rest of the house $10 adults, children and Heritage New Zealand members free.

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 Use your Entertainment Book voucher here. Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.