Cracker is a group show featuring new releases by four of Aotearoa New Zealand's leading contemporary photographic artists – Greta Anderson, Conor Clarke, Ann Shelton and Shaun Waugh. In informal English, the term 'cracker' refers to something exquisitely attractive, likeable or admirable. The generous contents of Cracker share a focus on the evocative and associative potential of colour, alongside a conscious foregrounding of photography as a subject. One might also think of the explosive colour of firecrackers, and even people who can crack a code. In this exhibition, these codes are pictorial – the building blocks of visual representation, communication and shared meaning. Here, these four artists both deploy and deconstruct the visual codes of the still life and landscape genres, for example. Cracking them open, these artists at once celebrate and critically reflect on the operations of such genres, and what other meanings they can be put to.
Anderson, Clarke, Shelton and Waugh exploit photography's capacity for visual and conceptual abstraction in diverse ways. The result of these processes of 'making strange' is that one is not always sure what one is looking at. In this exhibition, everyday objects and situations, natural forms and geometries, are transformed through an array of lens-based media into loaded visual encounters. Here, photography's ability to render and describe the world in front of the lens is complicated by its contrasting ability to stage and fabricate – evoking memory, fiction and imagination.
Press release courtesy Two Rooms.