I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be in Melbourne this weekend, as otherwise I’d be completely immersed in State of Design, Victoria’s design festival.

Fortunately, some of the events are open during the course of ten day festival. So today I decided to visit the venue closest to me, Panelpop, which is displaying a series of photographs entitled ‘UK Overgrown‘.

This small exhibition displays a handful of photographs by Collingwood-based photographer Adrian Lander, taken while he was visiting London, Sussex and Wales. The works explore our desire to tame the natural environment around us, but if we’re not vigilant, Mother Nature will laugh delightedly and quickly reclaim it. The atmosphere of the pictures ranged from creepy to comical, with my favourite works being a pair of photographs of ‘plants gone nuts’ – a hedge looking like it was about to attack a suburban garage and a vine creeping up a lamp post like strangler fig, pointedly juxtaposed against a background of uninspired cement buildings and other man-made objects. The other work I loved was a photograph of another lamp post, but this time it looked like the electrical wires were radiating from an organic core.

While I was giggling at the cheeky plants, Tony the owner of Panelpop told me to touch the paintings. Wow! I could feel the ridges of the panelled fibreglass house and the coarseness of a hedgerows under my fingertips. Panelpop specialise in what they call a ‘new art medium’. They claim recycled wood from people who would normally throw it in the tip and reuse polystyrene from the Queen Victoria Market stallholders to reinforce the back of the frames. The framed surface is given a coating made from gypsum based cement and industrial by-product which means that the works are scratch and weather resistant and don’t require glass protection.

If I had a spare $980 then I’d be buying one of Adrian Lander’s prints and hanging it on my balcony next to my vege pots. As such, I might have to be content with uploading one of my own photos to Panelpop.