We are proud to present Ann Shelton’s newest body of work — jane says — revealed for the first time at the end of last year as part of her major review exhibition Dark Matter currently showing at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
In the book accompanying that exhibition, Ann’s aesthetic is described by Dr Cassandra Barnett as including “doublings and multiples, decenterings, exclusions and displacements; stories buried or undone; surface visuality and dark depths; control and the uncontrollable.”
This new series jane says is no exception. The dramatic, large-scale, richly coloured photographic works, referencing the Japanese tradition of Ikebana, allude to concealed stories. Each work highlights a plant, herb or flower used historically in tonics and tinctures to control fertility. The artist has created and photographed these arrangements to reference these specific plant histories, layered discussions around absent bodies and to remind us of the uneasy relationship between traditional medical knowledge and the globalised pharmaceutical industry.
“My plant arrangements have been amassed, folded, contorted, cut and shaped to allow me to draw parallels between my conceptual ideas, and the visual qualities and the methods used to create these images," Ann says.
Ann Shelton is recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading photographic artists and is the paramount winner of two New Zealand contemporary art awards (the 2010 COCA Anthony Harper Contemporary Art Award and the 2006 Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award). Her work has been widely exhibited and features in numerous public and private collections in New Zealand and overseas. Ann lives in Wellington and is an Associate Professor at the Massey University School of Art Whiti o Rehua.
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.