Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Australian art

Contemporary art


View More:


The Green Room I



Robyn Stacey


1952 -


'The Green Room I' is from Robyn Stacey's 1999 exhibition 'Blue Narcissus'. The works are based on the symbolism of flowers: there are 'vanitas' references, as well references to the form, detail and life of plants. Blossfeldt is evoked for his interest in scientific objectivity in relation to depicting plants; as is Bataille for his writing on 'the language of flowers' - their beauty and decay. Stacey plays with the dualism inherent in all living things: their evanescent and fleeting beauty, and their ultimate death and destruction. This interest is not morbid in that Stacey wishes to represent the processes of life and death as being vital to each other and inherent in each other.

'The Green Room I', unlike other works in 'Blue Narcissus', contains no obvious information in relation to the eventual decay of the lotus, the plant depicted. The subtle flare of light emanating from the middle of this work can be read as a manifestation of the idea of sacredness which is traditionally associated with the lotus. The delicate layering of images within the photograph evokes the nature of a lotus pool: cool, calm and quiet. This work was made by placing the plants directly onto a scanner, digitising them and adding black and white and colour photocopies and photographs. Colour and tone was manipulated within the computer in order to produce a final image which is a synthesis of art, science and nature. 'The Green Room I' achieves a dimensionality which is unusual for a 2D work and it is interesting to note that, concurrently, Stacey is working with lenticular photography in order that the effect of time and movement can be registered within what appears to be a still image.

Robyn Stacey has been at the forefront of the utilisation of new media and digital technologies. 'The Green Room I' marks an important point in her work as the fusion of illusion and reality has become truly seamless; the work is not simply beautiful, it is mysteriously so. It encapsulates the history and symbolism of floral references in art without being destroyed by them.




Media category


Materials used

type C photograph




119.0 x 166.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 1999


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Robyn Stacey

Works in the collection


Referenced in 2 publications


Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Focusing on the camera, the art of building the Gallery's photography collection', pg.13, Sydney, Mar 2002, 13.

Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1999, 'Collections: Photography', pg. 21-22, Sydney, 1999, 22.