Ann Shelton’s internationally recognised large-scale, hyper-real photographic works operate at the nexus of conceptual and documentary modes, investigating the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of the landscape and its contents. Shelton’s new images explore the powerful relationship between colonisation, nationalism and plants in the context of Aotearoa. In a kind of contrived bouquet garni set against the musty colour palette of the Arts and Crafts movement, these domestic botanic epitaphs engage with the reasons emigrants brought plants with them, why they went to elaborate ends to preserve them on their long journey, and the consequences of their interventions.
Shelton’s major survey exhibition Dark Matter premiered at Auckland Art Gallery in 2016 and toured to Christchurch Art Gallery in 2017-2018. Her work has been exhibited extensively in New Zealand and internationally over the last 25 years in major art institutions. Shelton is Associate Professor Photography at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University in Wellington, where she lectures in Fine Art and Photography.