Ann Shelton

Ann Shelton

Associate Professor, external relations and enterprise coordinator, Whiti o Rehua School of Art

Ann Shelton is an internationally recognised artist. Her research comprises large-scale, hyper-real photographic artworks that interrogate the unfixed histories embedded in place and located in archival collections. Operating at the nexus of conceptual and documentary modes, her artworks investigate the social, political and historical contexts that inform readings of the landscape and its contents. Shelton is similarly motivated by the nature of the archive. Her works use photography as a philosophical tool to uncover and re-contextualise moments that have been overlooked or displaced. Shelton teaches across the undergraduate degree and undertakes postgraduate supervision.

  • Expertise

    Contemporary art with an emphasis on photographic practices, ranging from conceptual to documentary modes; gender theory; critical studies in sexuality and film theory as related to artistic practice; discourses of visuality and the archive.

  • Research Highlights

    a library to scale (2006)
    a library to scale responds to Ann Shelton’s encounter with 3,500 scrapbooks compiled by Fred B. Butler over his lifetime. Compelled by the archive’s social, political and historical significance, Ann Shelton examined the scope of this record, never before viewed publicly in its entirety. She undertook to record the physical presence of the collection in large-scale, hyper–real photographs that remade the library in a two-dimensional form and generated new forms of knowledge in relation to it.

    in a forest (2005-ongoing)
    in a forest engages with the shifting histories embedded in place through the social, cultural and political implications of a group of trees which grew from seedlings presented to gold medalists at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Ann Shelton’s photographs double and invert images of the trees, sometimes referred to as 'Hitler oaks’, growing in North America and Europe revealing the narratives underpinning them and generating fresh engagement with the complexities surrounding their origin and enduring presence.

    room room  (2008)
    room room continues Ann Shelton’s investigations into sites and visuality by appropriating the visual tropes of the Claude glass, a small portable convex mirror. This series develops the mirrored double image present in much of Shelton’s work and settles on a single laterally inverted image. It depicts the now demolished women’s quarters of the former drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility on Rotoroa Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand.

    once more with feeling (2008)
    In 2008 Ann Shelton was invited to respond to the Hocken Pictorial Collection, established in 1900 and of significance to New Zealand and the wider Pacific. Through this project Shelton generated new visual research on the relationship between contemporary photography and the archive. Drawn to the possibility of reframing the collection, she overlaid existing narratives and constructed new perspectives on concealed content. By photographing locations formerly depicted by significant colonial artists Fox, O’Brien &and Van der Velden, Shelton explored the past and present of these sites, presenting them in a manner that allowed multiple histories to co-exist. 

  • Qualifications

    BFA (Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University)
    MFA (University of British Columbia University)

  • Professional Affiliations

    Enjoy Public Art Gallery (chair)