In a week when the unmissable exhibition of work by Len Lye opened at the Gus Fisher Gallery, other venues are featuring the work of artists of considerable standing whose exhibitions reinforce their reputations.

There are two such artists at Two Rooms Gallery in Newton shown in spaces that exactly suit their work. In the large space and high walls of the main gallery housing Elizabeth Thomson's exhibition, there's a big piece mounted directly on the wall. Her work still uses huge numbers of castings in zinc that reproduce pohutukawa leaves in a gradation of sizes that allow for perspective effects.

The big work called The Shimmering Lakes combines nine files of leaves crossed by nine ranks in diminishing perspective. At the intersections are green oval shapes energised by a surface of tiny glass spheres. The effect is of a vast park-like Versailles stretching into the distance and stylised to make a splendid wall decoration. The rest of the works are circular and fit the title of the show, La Planete Sauvage.

In the Astrophysics Series, the tondo forms are white and slightly domed on which are deployed concentric circles of leaves. These galaxy-like structures are slanted and varied in size to give the effect of depth. The tiny realistic shapes of the green leaves suggest the natural world - a microcosm - while the geometry of the assemblages suggest structures spinning in space - a macrocosm. Particularly striking are works such as Astrophysics III where the systems intersect.

In contrast to this geometry in space, the series of works that give the show its name are softly glowing evocations of astronomical phenomena using the surface of glass beads seen in the large work. These asteroid bodies are cloudy and dependent on colour except in one called Terra Luna where a crater specifically suggests the moon. Blue hints of sea and cloud in Lavina are particularly rich.

Everything is beautifully crafted, bold and generously evocative of things in heaven and earth as well as science and art.

The same might be said of the photographs of Megan Jenkinson in the long gallery upstairs. She has taken what is a gimmick when used on a cheap postcard and turned it into a device for stunning artistic effect.

The device is the lenticular effect where the image is laminated on to finely ridged plastic which causes bold changes in colour as the viewer moves in front of the image. In previous shows the phenomenon has been used to striking effect to convey the changing colours of the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights captured by the artist on her trip to Antarctica.

There are two excellent examples here of immense skies charged with celestial light over a bare snowy landscape. But the device is more than just descriptive. Another series called The Heavens Opened uses the portentous, ominous skies painted by famous artists as backdrop to the scene of the Deposition of Christ or the Crucifixion itself. She gives them an extra charge of sombre atmospheric effect by having them change colour as if the heavens shook with thunder.

The effect can be more specifically symbolic. In the Spectrals Series objects are transformed. In Stages of Inner Light a sharp photograph of a handsome old prayer book is by a slight shift suddenly illuminated by the vivid red of hell-fire - the subject of the meditation of the pious reader. Similarly, The Voice of Reason embodies a change from plain and defined insight to vivid colourful knowledge The change from the precise collaged photographs with which Jenkinson established her reputation to this lenticular effect has proved to be a fertile one.

The work of Viky Garden at the Warwick Henderson Gallery is much more orthodox. It is painting done in oil and acrylic on linen. The subject matter is, on one level, autobiographical. The painter is shown in silhouette in black in a way similar to 18th-century paper silhouettes and the profiles on Greek vases. Yet the effect is modern because of the energy of the subject's hair gathered at the back and the carefully painted variety of clothing on the figure. The profiles are more tender than the sometimes grotesque self-portraits of previous exhibitions.

The premise of the work is that time, which subtly erodes our lives, is symbolised by huge moths, some dark and ordinary, others with attractive patterns on their wings. The human figures touched by these moths gesture pointing forward, though some are also menaced by fingers pointing behind them. Moths grow by metamorphosis - change of form - and it is implied that life is change. These thoughtful works could be melodramatic but although the images are far from sentimental they have a highly individual charm.

Whitespace Gallery is showing a double exhibition by Neal Palmer and Sam Foley called Get Real. Palmer's paintings have featured the rhythms and colour variations in the leaves of green flax. There are red, decaying leaves, the spots of insect attack and edge-eating beetles mixed in with vigorous growth. The skill of the painting is undeniable and very attractive but these read less as symbols of mortality and more as an element of realism.

The large paintings of Sam Foley are also skilful to the point of virtuosity as he finds convincing equivalents in paint for flickering sunlight, bark, fern, leaves and paths through woodland. The pathways are romantic and the painted marks intriguing.

AT THE GALLERIES
What: La Planete Sauvage by Elizabeth Thomson; Second Silence by Megan Jenkinson
Where and when: Two Rooms, 16 Putiki St, Newton, to Dec 23
TJ says: Sculptor Elizabeth Thomson continues to make her carefully crafted work from small castings of leaves and large-scale evocations of space in all senses of the word, while photographer Megan Jenkinson makes startlingly effective use of optical shifts in colour.

What: Passengers by Viky Garden.
Where and when: Warwick Henderson Gallery, 32 Bath St, Parnell, to Dec 5
TJ says: Attractive, idiosyncratic work that mixes carefully worked background with stark silhouettes and moths made fat by the passing of time.

What: Get Real: New Paintings by Neal Palmer and Sam Foley
Where and when: Whitespace, 12 Crummer Rd, Ponsonby, to Dec 12
TJ says: Two established artists continue their realistic way with skill and assurance - one painting dense clumps of flax and the other romantic woodland on a large scale.

For gallery listings, see www.nzherald.co.nz/go/artlistings