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.