Review: ‘all about … blooming’ exhibition by JUNKO GO at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 25th February – 14th March 2009


Junko Go. 'Opium Poppy' 2008


Junko Go (Australian born Japan, b. 1955)
Opium Poppy


“One person’s heaven is another’s nightmare. Seeing both sides to every story can be a blessing and a curse. Good and bad, right and wrong, purity and impurity are inextricably linked.”



A delicate, refined but strong presence is felt in the work of Junko Go in the her new exhibition ‘all about … blooming’ at Gallery 101, Melbourne. Nominally landscape painting about flowers but featuring thoughts and ideas about the seed, the shoot, pollen and the breath of life the work addresses the essence of what it is to be human and live compassionately on this earth in an intelligent and profound way.

Denying the nihilism of abstract expressionism each mark is fully considered by being attentive to the connection between brush, hand and meaning. Almost childlike in their use of charcoal and acrylic her dogs, crosses and flowers, jottings and dashes, rain and rivers, seeds and people show a Zen like contemplation in the marks she makes on the canvas – just so. A releasement towards things is proffered, a letting go of the ego to create an awareness of just being. There is genuine warmth and humility to this work.

In Opium Poppy (2008, above) the darkness of the nightmare is represented by the black marks, ascending like Jacob’s ladder balanced by the mandala like poppies whose petals seem like feathers of a bird’s wing – a flight of fancy both good and bad. In Pollen (2009) bees swarm around a sunflower leaving traces of their presence, a bird flies close to a tiny blue cloud, the sun burst forth in a tiny patch of aqua colour, and people hug arm in arm. As Go says, “Bees in a flower bear pollen unawares and play a crucial roll for the plant to survive. Our love, kindness, warmth and wisdom affect one another unawares and play a crucial roll for our planet to survive.” In New Shoot (2008, below) the puzzle of our existence, the nature of our existential being is laid bare for all to see.

In Seeds (2008) Go reminds us that rather than being focused on what we hoped for, we must make the most of whatever opportunities we are blessed with. This means being aware of the gifts one possesses, not the distance between ‘I’ and want, need and desire – now! The seed of our experience – the calm before the force that propelled us into existence – is already present within us.

Go’s musings on the existential nature of our being are both full and empty at one and the same time and help us contemplate the link to the breath of the sublime. In the end Go’s paintings are about endings and beginnings, about being strong or not, about the infinity of the seed and about our responses to living in harmony on this planet. Through the seed, the shoot, the flower and the earth access may be granted to the sublime and this perfectly sums up the work of this artist, a reflection of her energy and radiance transferred to the canvas. I loved it.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to Gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the art work for a larger version of the image.


Junko Go. 'New Shoot' 2008


Junko Go (Australian born Japan, b. 1955)
New Shoot


“Each of us is born to fill a special place in this world. In the process, we sometimes have trouble finding our niche. Life is like a jigsaw puzzle in which we make every effort to find our own place that makes a right connection with others, with the world and even with the whole universe.”


Junko Go. 'Red Hot Poker' 2009


Junko Go (Australian born Japan, b. 1955)
Red Hot Poker


“Push and pull our inner strength. Sometimes, we need courage to take risks in confronting pain and loss in order to gain a deep and profound experience.”


“We live in a world where high achievers are congratulated, yet true achievements are not related to what we can get done, but to how deeply we aware of how wonderful it is to be alive. In this exhibition, flowers are not only a predominant source of visual inspiration, looking at them also engenders a kind of appreciation and wonder. The fragile and ephemeral flower provokes in me an awareness of the human condition that reveals the true nature of our existence.

My goal is to create images which are strong and soft, bold and precise, beautiful and ugly, figurative and abstract, all at once. My greatest challenge is to make art about what it is to be human … What really matters in art making to me is a kind of awareness – a being able to say, ‘I am as I am’.”

Text from the artist statement




Gallery is no longer open.


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3 Responses to “Review: ‘all about … blooming’ exhibition by JUNKO GO at Gallery 101, Melbourne”

  1. 1 Mark Holsworth
    March 2, 2009 at 4:46 am

    It is a beautiful series of paintings and I was also moved to write a review of it for my blog.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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