Ann Shelton is one of New Zealand’s leading artists. Her practice predominantly comprises large-scale, hyper-real photographic artworks. Operating where documentary and conceptual photography meet, her works interrogate our collective histories and cultural memories, with a particular interest in the role of archival collections and the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of place. Shelton’s most recent research is manifest though plant-based photographic constructions engaging plant, gender focused, and anthropogenic narratives or histories, in particular the intersection of these histories with human knowledge systems and/or with feminisms. For Shelton making photographs comes with a complex potential agency and set of overwhelming ethical and moral margins that are at the heart of the medium’s difficult ontology. Combining photography, performance, doubling, spoken, textual and printed matter to open up what can be critiqued as the seamless, closed and singular nature of photographic objects, she employs these interventions in an attempt to question and to complicate the singular status of photographic meaning, rendering her images more mobile, multiple, insecure and stammering.
Ann Shelton (b. 1967, Timaru, New Zealand) lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. She received her MFA from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Her most recent museum survey, titled Dark Matter, was curated by Zara Stanhope for Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in November 2016 and toured to Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in December 2017. A catalogue also accompanied the exhibition. She is represented by Denny Dimin Gallery in the United States, and her most recent body of work, titled jane says, has been exhibited at twelve galleries and institutions worldwide and the accompanying performance, The physical garden, has been performed a further eleven times. Her work has been extensively written about and reviewed in publications including Hyperallergic, Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies, artnet news, The Art Newspaper, Galerie Magazine, and The Evergreen Review. Her works are included in public and private collections throughout New Zealand and in the US. She is Honorary Research Fellow in Photography at Whiti o Rehua, School of Art, Massey University, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa.