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Artist in residence explores Taranaki landscape

Media Release

27 May 2004

Artist in residence explores Taranaki landscape

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is pleased to announce Auckland photographer Ann Shelton has commenced her 2004 artist’s residency.

The residency programme, focusing on the presentation of new work by one New Zealand and one international artist every year, is developed in partnership with the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, and supported by Creative New Zealand.

Shelton, who will be in Taranaki until the first week of July, will be based at the Institute for approximately 10 weeks and has been engaging with the student body, conducting both studio visits and giving formal lectures.

“We are pleased to have a significant artist like Ann Shelton producing new work as part of this residency project and we are looking forward to it featuring at the Govett-Brewster in December. A major focus of the New Zealand part of the residency programme is the engagement of the artist with students in the fine arts programme at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki,” says Gallery director Gregory Burke.

The project, to be exhibited in December, continues Shelton’s investigation of the relationship between fact and fiction. Shelton has for example, photographed places where events are widely believed to have occurred but in fact did not. Shelton’s work is about how legends become popularised or transformed and how fictions become real.

Shelton has been photographing sites associated with historical incidents, famous crimes, and popular legend that have captivated public attention and later become urban myth or the subject of fiction or films. For example, the film Picnic at Hanging Rock by Peter Weir 1975 is based on a novel yet the events depicted in the film are widely believed to have occurred. Continuing this theme, Shelton has also made a work which references Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures 1994, a film based on a true event.

Since arriving Shelton has already photographed locations associated with the Vincent Ward film Vigil 1984 that was made in Taranaki. Vigil was Ward’s break through film, screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Shelton has permission from Ward to use footage from Vigil to produce a new video work and will also be including photographs from beyond Taranaki within the exhibition project.

Shelton, a graduate of the prestigious MFA photography program at the University of British Columbia, is a senior lecturer in the School of Visual Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland University at Manukau.

Shelton will be giving an Artist in Residence lecture about her practice at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery at 6.00pm on Tuesday 15 June.


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