31 July 2018
A significant exhibition of work by Auckland-based artist Marie Shannon opens at Christchurch Art Gallery this Saturday.
Rooms found only in the home consists of more than 30 years of wryly humorous works, including 40 photographs and five video pieces. The exhibition has been developed and toured by Dunedin Public Art Gallery and is drawn out of its collection and the artist’s personal archive.
Christchurch Art Gallery director Blair Jackson says Shannon is of a generation of artists who decided to operate as artists first and photographers second.
“Marie Shannon studied photography at a time when an emphasis was placed on the documentary or journalistic power of the image. Despite being drawn to the medium, she forged a different path and instead focused on creating carefully constructed images drawing on very personal experiences.”
Shannon’s photographs draw on her home life and her most intimate relationships. They capture simple, everyday moments such as reading by the fire, going to the supermarket, the memorabilia of family life, and the layout of domestic spaces. Warm and keenly observed, they are frequently also very funny.
They also relate to her life as an artist, which she shared with her partner and fellow artist, the late Julian Dashper.
Her photographs are made on a large-format camera, resulting in sharp, finely detailed images.
Past subjects have included photographs of her son Leo’s sketchbook, love notes, an embroidered fabric collage of a Gordon Walters koru painting, and the plaster cast made as part of her partner’s radiation therapy.
Text often appears in her work. She re-purposes diary notes or scribbled messages left lying on a table, and excerpts from personal letters. In recent video works, her texts function like the intertitles of silent films, communicating directly with the viewer.
Christchurch Art Gallery assistant curator Nathan Pohio says Shannon is very interested in the story behind the single, personal object.
“Her daily routine and experience as an artist, partner, friend and mother results in an art that’s intellectually conceived while remaining intimate and witty.”
Marie Shannon: Rooms found only in the home is on display at Christchurch Art Gallery from 4 August to 2 December 2018. Entry is free.