<p><strong>Ann Shelton</strong><br />
<em>The Courtesan, Poroporo (Solanum sp.)</em> 2016</p>

Ann Shelton
The Courtesan, Poroporo (Solanum sp.) 2016

Media Release
Friday 16 September 2016

On Saturday 26 November Auckland Art Gallery will open Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, the first major review of the Wellington photographer’s 20 years of practice.

This exhibition uncovers the dark matter or unknown substance in Ann Shelton’s art in which time, place, narrative, trauma and female authorship unfold in shifting and destabilising ways.

Shelton engages with a range of interconnected subjects in her work, which also investigates how photography is a powerful force for the creation of meaning in our lives.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says Shelton is one of New Zealand’s leading creative practitioners working in photography.

Dark Matter is the first holistic overview of Shelton’s work and offers a fresh insight into the artist’s deeply researched and explorative imagery,’ she says.

The exhibition will present a significant selection of past bodies of work, including previously unseen photographs from the 90s, and a new series, Jane says (2015–16), still life images created by Shelton using abortifacient plants used historically by women as medicinal forms of bodily control.

Also featured are Shelton’s early series which brought her to attention as a photographer, such as Redeye (1995–7), which recorded the artist’s social scene in Auckland in the early 90s, as well as works that show her transition from documenting others to documenting place, such as Abigail’s Party (1999) and K Hole (2000).

Then Public Places (2001–03) and once more from the street (2004) confirm Shelton’s unique ability to disturb and unearth true and fabricated histories and make forgotten stories visible again through ‘scene of the crime’ images and forensic photography.   

Other bodies of work, Library to Scale (2006) and room room (2008), illustrate the role of the photograph in the archiving and surveillance of social and personal life.

Shelton says she offers new ways to look at histories that have been, and continue to be, manipulated and contrived in various ways.

‘My work investigates the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of the landscape and its contents.’

The Gallery’s Principal Curator Dr Zara Stanhope says Shelton reveals photography’s unique role in connecting with people, place and histories, through its link with archives and documentary, revealing dark matter that otherwise goes unnoticed.


Artist bio

Ann Shelton has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Awards for her work include the 2010 Centre of Contemporary Art Anthony Harper Contempo­rary Art Award and the 2006 Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award in New Zealand. Her works are featured in numerous public and private collections in New Zealand and overseas. Shelton is an Associate Professor at Massey University’s Whiti o Rehua School of Art in Wellington where she lectures in Fine Art and Photography. She is currently Chair of Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington’s longest running artist-run space.

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