Preview

In this exhibition, Bloombox, Natasha Bieniek has created 10 miniature paintings of public gardens around Melbourne.

In the curated engagement of a garden, she sees an essential opportunity for urban-dwellers.

“Like a painting, gardens are often composed… Fundamental elements like shape, colour, form, tone, texture, hierarchy and focal points are used to achieve aesthetic dexterity. But for me, gardens are more than mere decoration; they hold greater significance.”

As a place where city residents may interact with nature, gardens offer respite and succour. Bieniek’s tiny paintings are atmospheric vignettes within these places, a series of enigmatic opportunities for Lilliputian adventures that loom large in the imagination.

For these works, Bieniek has chosen an unusual support: a coated aluminium product called Dibond. Each measures 9 x 14 cm, and has a different finish. They share a sleek aesthetic, with rounded corners and a variable surface, but while some are like mirrors, others sparkle and still others mimic copper. In this high tech aesthetic, Bieniek found a counterpoint to the poetry of oil painting and her chosen organic subject matter. Her realist miniature garden paintings o er intimacy, and “connections to history and points in time. They also allow us to reflect on present-day culture and operate as an antidote to the stream of images to which people are subject.”

These paintings, which fit (like a phone) into the palm of your hand, take the viewer into Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens, the Japanese Garden at the Melbourne Zoo, Ripponlea Estate and the Botanical Gardens in Warrnambool. The manicured detail makes Bieniek’s point succinctly. “The natural world remains the most sensory-stimulating and information-rich environment that people ever encounter.”

Bloombox
Natasha Bieniek
Jan Murphy Gallery
1 November – 26 November

Watch a video of Natasha Bieniek speaking about her exhibition Bloombox here.

Louise Martin-Chew