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City Of Gold and Lead: Ann Shelton Exhibition

City Of Gold and Lead: Ann Shelton Exhibition

28 July to 3 November 2013, at the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua

Wellington-based photographer Ann Shelton is an internationally recognised artist whose works explore the layers of histories embedded in place and located in archival collections. Operating in a space between conceptual and documentary modes of image making, her work investigates the social, political and historical contexts that inform our understanding of particular sites and objects.

From November, 2012 until February, 2013 Shelton was artist-in-residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui. This weekend her post-residency exhibition, The City of Gold and Lead, will open at the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua. Shelton, part artist, part historian and part journalist, has engaged with Whanganui’s complex histories. One body of work deals with the events surrounding the blackmail and trial for attempted murder of Whanganui’s Mayor Charles Mackay in 1920 and the subsequent erasure of his name from the foundation stone of the Sarjeant Gallery. The second grouping of works in the exhibition explores the place of the ‘Wanganui Computer’ in New Zealand’s social consciousness, along with its bombing by Neil Roberts in 1982.

Characteristic to her practice Shelton has created works which reconstruct and re-contextualise sometimes incidental but essential components and archival material to re-examine complex narratives. One such example is Shelton’s direct engagement with the Gallery’s history through the re-gilding of Mackay’s name on the Gallery’s foundation stone. Shelton continues the theme of re-inscription in one of the most emotive works in the exhibition. On the thirtieth anniversary of the bombing of the ‘Wanganui Computer’ Shelton re-inscribed in the night sky "We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity”, the phrase that Neil Roberts had graffiti-ed on a nearby building before the bombing.

Ann Shelton is Chair of Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington's longest running artist-run space and is a Senior Lecturer at Massey University Wellington’s, School of Art Whiti o Rehua. Shelton has an impressive track record of exhibiting both nationally and internationally and was artist-in-residence at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in 2004. Accompanying the exhibition is a 72 page publication with major essays by Paul Diamond, Kyla McFarlane and Sarah McClintock.

This project has been generously supported by Massey University School of Fine Arts Strategic Research Fund.


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