the missionaries at Two Rooms

Ann Shelton’s internationally recognised large-scale, hyper-real photographic works operate at the nexus of conceptual and documentary modes, investigating the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of the landscape and its contents. Shelton’s new images explore the powerful relationship between colonisation, nationalism and plants in the context of Aotearoa. In a kind of contrived bouquet garni set against the musty colour palette of the Arts and Crafts movement, these domestic botanic epitaphs engage with the reasons emigrants brought plants with them, why they went to elaborate ends to preserve them on their long journey, and the consequences of their interventions.

Exhibition opens: 6–8pm Friday 1 June 2018
Exhibition closes: 30 June 2018
Location: Two Rooms, 16 Putiki St, Newton Auckland 1021

Panel discussion at Photival festival

Imagery has been used throughout modern history to help persuade, manipulate and lie. Spanning propaganda, fake news and the brave photographers who have combated the common narrative, we look at how photography’s role has evolved. Instagram filters, photo shopped billboards and high-jacked news imagery pervade the public discourse, how can we tell truth from fiction? How can we combat fake news?

Our panel of experts (Ann Shelton, Geoffrey Batchen and Nicky Hager) cover these issues and explore how to approach visual media today.

jane says (excerpts) – UNTITLED, Art Fair San Francisco

jane says is featured by Denny Gallery in the San Francisco Art Fair UNTITLED, Art alongside other international artists.

UNTITLED, Art is an international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on curatorial balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art. UNTITLED, Art innovates the standard fair model by selecting a curatorial team to identify and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in dialogue with an architecturally designed venue.

Ockham book awards shortlist for Dark Matter

“ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION AWARD SHORTLIST: More than just a catalogue to accompany the artist’s retrospective exhibition, this exquisitely designed compilation brings 15 bodies of work together in one place for the first time. Outstanding scholars provide illuminating insights into key themes in the photographer’s work in a clear, readable style. Every aspect of the design of the publication — the slip-cased format, typography and layout — complements the rich and fascinating narratives evoked by the images themselves. This is a book of enduring quality, flawlessly produced.” Judges comments.

AAANZ best large catalogue prize for Dark Matter

The AAANZ Best Large Exhibition Catalogue Prize honours originality and intellectual rigour, as well as excellence in the quality of the catalogue design, layout and reproduction of high-quality images. This prize is awarded annually and exhibition catalogues (from monographic surveys to broad thematic publications) issued by major Australian and New Zealand art museums, and those published by art institutions across the South Pacific are eligible.

Judges citation:

“And our winner – in a good year for its publisher Auckland Art Gallery and its curator Zara Stanhope, is Ann Shelton: Dark Matter. Sometimes “creatively” laid- out catalogues that understand themselves as not merely accompanying the show but as works of art in their own right lose their reader and end up not saying much about the work. But that is absolutely not the case here. Although the catalogue is studded with in-your-face full-page reproductions whose exact relation to the show is at first a little unclear, the catalogue remains entirely true to Shelton’s aesthetic. There are brilliant essays by Abigail Solomon-Godeau (of course) and New York-based German and Comparative Literature Professor Ulrich Baer. The production values of this hard-backed, cardboard-boxed and authoritatively thick catalogue are out of this world. A worthy winner!
Congratulations to all those who entered.

Extraordinary care, attention and resources are poured into art publishing in Australasia and we want to recognise and commend this here.”

Judges: Jaynie Anderson and Rex Butler

The physical garden, Christchurch Art Gallery

A performance accompanying Ann Shelton’s series jane says.

The physical garden explores and activates narratives relating to the artist’s interest in plant histories and the legacy of women’s use of plants for fertility and birth control.

This air is a material: Screenings

Ann Shelton left her hometown of Timaru in the 80’s on a mission. Her sense of social justice coupled with an interest in human narratives saw her working as one of New Zealand’s first female press photographers at the Dominion in Wellington. From there Ann moved to K’ Rd in Auckland, and attended Elam School of Fine Arts in the 90s.

Her seminal project Redeye captured the zeitgeist of that time, and catapulted her to public notoriety. Over 25 years Ann has made many rich and complex bodies of work that unearth local mythologies, ‘ghosted’ stories and characters previously written out of history. Ann’s photographs and artist books form a significant contribution to the history of contemporary photographic practice in Aotearoa New Zealand

Artists, writers and curators speak with passion and insight about Ann’s work and its historical and contemporary contexts. Ann herself provides much of the guiding narration. The air is a material explores the visual themes and motifs of Ann’s work, tracing its origins in the history and landscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Produced and directed by Becky Nunes, New Zealand 2016.

Doc Edge Festival: Selected in competition and Finalist, Best Documentary Feature.

Made with the support of Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design and the Chartwell Trust.

Premiere: Screened as part of the opening program of events for Dark Matter exhibition November 26th 2016 + accompanying artist talk Auckland Art Gallery, 26 Nov 2016

DocEdge Film Festival Screenings:
Wellington: Roxy Theatre 17th May/19th May 2017
Auckland: Q Theatre 30 May/2 June 2017

Govett Brewster 10th December 2017

jane says (excerpts) and The physical garden – INSIDE

Organised by Rafaela Pandolfini and Stella Rosa McDonald, Inside is a group exhibition that understands the body as a contested social, cultural and physical site.

As the body is called to account—by gender roles and rituals, by community, medicine, dress and costume, by privacy, duty and by desire—its locus shifts. Inside attests to the body’s leaky parameters, it laments names and finitudes and lays claim to being what you are not.

The exhibition will open with The physical garden, a performance conceived by Ann Shelton that explores the female body and the complex territory between fact and fiction.

Jana Hawkins-Andersen (AUS), Hannah Brontë (AUS), Hana Earles (AUS), Lewis Fidock (AUS), Aurelia Guo (AUS/UK), Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings (UK), D&K (AUS), Morag Keil (UK), Gian Manik (AUS), Senga Nengudi (US), Ruth O’Leary (AUS), Z. O’Mahoney (AUS) Ariana Reines (US), Cinzia Ruggeri (IT), Nalda Searles (AUS), Ann Shelton (NZ), Mimi Smith (US), Ainslie Templeton (AUS)

Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, Christchurch Art Gallery

An expansive view of Ann Shelton’s tightly conceived, large scale and hyperreal photography

Ann Shelton is one of New Zealand’s leading artists, operating where documentary and conceptual photography meet. Seeking insight and understanding of our collective histories and cultural memories, Shelton excavates narratives buried within, or sitting upon, a psychological and hyperreal landscape.

Dates: 16 December 2017 – 15 April 2018

everyone in the cinema is watching the prison and jane says installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
the city of gold and lead installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
a library to scale, Redeye, doublethink installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
a library to scale, Abigail’s Party, Redeye installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
my friends are electric, Abigail’s Party, Redeye installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
Redeye installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
in a forest installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
once more from the street installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie
Public Places installation view, Christchurch Art Gallery, 2017. Photo John Collie

jane says (excerpts) – Denny Gallery

Denny Gallery is pleased to announce The Unhomely a group exhibition of Amir H. Fallah, Ann Shelton, Diedrick Brackens, Future Retrieval, Mie Olise Kjærgaard, and Paula Wilson. The exhibition will be on view from June 29th to August 18th, 2017.

The Unhomely will explore the experience of being an artist in a globalized art world as the borders begin to literally and figuratively close, through the lens of Homi Bhabha’s post-colonialist idea of the “unhomely” presented in his 1992 essay “The World and the Home.” He writes that the word “captures something of the estranging sense of the relocation of the home and the world in an unhallowed place…. The home does not remain the domain of domestic life, nor does the world simply become its social or historical counterpart. The unhomely is the shock of recognition of the world-in-the-home, the home-in-the-world.” This idea is used to further refer to the lack of recognition that many here in the U.S. have of the new ideological goals of our home country, and how those politics have impeded on the boundaries of private and professional lives. The artists in the exhibition explore issues of the global circulation of culture and cultural producers, alongside of issues of alienation from the ideas of “home.”

06.29.2017 - 08.18.2017

Casey Carsel and Laura Thomson: a conversation with Ann Shelton

Through a wide range of photographic investigations, Wellington-based artist Ann Shelton has, over her 20-year career, explored the construction of narratives that surround social, political and historical contexts. A selection of Shelton’s prolific practice has been brought together in her review exhibition, Dark Matter, at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, which opened on 26 November 2016 and continues through to 17 April 2017.

In this interview, the artist, who is associate professor in photography at Massey University, Wellington and chairperson of Enjoy Public Art Gallery, discusses her Auckland Art Gallery exhibition. She talks about her continuing investigation into photography as a medium in which identity can be explored in figurative as well as non-figurative bodies, and the viewer’s part in creating meaning out of what is given.

Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, Auckland Art Gallery

Dark Matter is an exploration of the lens-based practice of Ann Shelton in which time, place, narrative, trauma and female authorship unfold in shifting and destabilising ways. Her engagement with the fragmented nature of the social body, particularly those of counter cultures, and those who are at the edges of culture both literally or as subjects in film or literature, has been the force behind major bodies of work from Redeye to Public Places. Other substantial works such as once more from the street and in a forest reveal the conceptual focus and psychological strategies Shelton brings in her dialogue with overlooked and unwanted histories. Works introduce clues to an uncertain narrative and they are destabilising in the sense of offering concrete clues to an unsolvable mystery.

Dark Matter includes new work created in the studio that reveals Shelton’s ability to recover the unseen and overlooked histories and bring them into the light of day. Shelton’s photographs are a locus for the unfolding of the deep investigations in which meaning always remains at one remove.

Dates: 26 Nov 2016 — 17 Apr 2017

Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett
Photo Sam Hartnett

Revisited podcast: no future

Podcast about Neil Roberts, who is at the centre of my work the city of gold and lead.

Episode 6:
Neil Roberts was 21 when he was killed by the explosives he set off outside the Wanganui Computer Buildings as a protest against what he saw as increasing state surveillance.

Revisited podcast: the ridgway street sensation

Charles Mackay was the influential Mayor of the Wanganui Borough for 13 years until he shot returned serviceman Darcy Cresswell for threatening to expose a secret and was expunged from local history for almost 50 years. Mackay was one of the subjects of the exhibition the city of gold and lead.

The Wireless: an anarchist with a death wish

Interview on The Wireless

“Suicide bombing is seen by most New Zealanders as a terrorist act that happens overseas. But 33 years ago, an anarchist punk blew himself up trying to destroy ‘New Zealand’s Big Brother’.”

Photobooks forum: Gary Baigent and Ann Shelton

Ann Shelton and Gary Baigent in conversation with Robert Leonard

Gary Baigent’s photobook Unseen City (1967) and Ann Shelton’s photobook Redeye (1997) are portraits of Auckland published 30 years apart. Baigent and Shelton discuss their work with Chief Curator Robert Leonard. In partnership with Photobook New Zealand.

Pictures on paper

This short documentary charts some of the key moments in the history of the photo book in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Five photographers five minutes

Join us for fast paced highlight tour of the new major exhibition of New Zealand Photography Collected as five well-known contemporary photographers talk for 5 minutes each on selected works in the exhibition. The tour is part of the opening day events for the new spring season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa. New Zealand Photography Collected brings hundreds of rare and fascinating photographs out of Te Papa’s storerooms and onto the gallery walls.

Talk and film screening: Hitler oaks, dark tourism and Holocaust memorial spaces

Demented Architecture features Polish artist Zbigniew Libera’s Lego Concentration Camp Set (1996). When it was first made, Libera was accused of making light of the Holocaust. Now described by the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw as ‘one of the most important works in contemporary Polish art,’ his sculpture has gone on to be celebrated for the sophisticated ways it works through the legacy of the Holocaust.

Following an introduction from exhibition curator Aaron Lister, Ann Shelton, Emma Willis and Miri Young give three short presentations on Holocaust memorialisation, contemporary art and dark tourism. They consider how structures and legacies from oppressive and horrific regimes echo through contemporary culture.

The presentations will be followed by a screening of Alain Resnais’s documentary Night and Fog (1955), one of the first cinematic reflections on the Holocaust, and Polish artist Artur Żmijewski’s The Game of Tag (1999), introduced by City Gallery’s Chief Curator Robert Leonard.

Among the Machines

Rhodophyta, A view across the Rangitata River Valley to Erewhon Station, from Mesopotamia Station, Te Wai Pounamu, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Single channel, HD digital video and sound, colour, 16:9, continuous loops, Blu-ray, 2013, Dunedin Public Art Gallery.