The Imperfect Series

Imperfect is an ongoing series of flower studies that muses on the temporality of life.

Peonies - Imperfect 2014 - Emma Bass

It is inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, or respect for the incomplete and imperfect things of this world.

Artist and writer Leonard Koren captures the essence thusly:

Things that are imperfect
can be beautiful

Things that are impermanent
can be beautiful

Things that are unconventional
can be beautiful

Collections from the Imperfect series have featured at galleries around New Zealand.
In October 2014 The Imperfect book will be launched by PQ Blackwell.


It is a magical thing when a talented artist hits upon a subject that suits their temperament. One thinks of McCahon’s waterfalls, Siddell’s cityscapes, Hammond’s birds. Such art can be developed and nuanced without becoming formulaic or slick.

So it is with Emma Bass and her photographs of beautiful, vulnerable flower arrangements. Viewers of Bass’s first show on this theme in 2012 will recognise the creative mind behind Imperfect II, but will note some subtle changes. Works that are unashamedly theatrical, baroque or surreal can be found. The sense of drama has been heightened, as has the intensity of colours.

Read the full review by Warwick Brown

In an era of glossy finishes, air-brushing and Photoshop the least imperfection is considered scandalous. Fruit, vegetables and flowers are expected to be immaculate, taste or perfume notwithstanding. But surely the beauty of these living objects lies in their transience – the fact that they will fade adds to their attractiveness.

As Leonard Cohen sings in Anthem: ‘There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in’; as Persian weavers wove in flaws because it would be arrogant for mortals to aspire to perfection; so Emma Bass, by deftly subverting an ancient tradition, reminds us that we are human.

Read the full review by David Lyndon Brown