New Zealand artist Marie Shannon works across photography, drawing and video. Since graduating from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1983, Shannon has exhibited her work in galleries across New Zealand and Australia, including the Australian Centre of Photography, Govett Brewster Gallery, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. She was also included in the Asia Pacific Triennial in 1996. Intimate and considered, Shannon’s works look to her immediate environment – her home, her studio -- and bring a distilled focus to the domestic, everyday object. In her photographs we see a paper hat, a bedside lamp and hand-written love notes shot against a black background, undistracted and singular. Her photographs are evocative in their simplicity, reminding us of the great creative possibilities and story-telling power of the unassuming object, of the poetry that can be found in the mundane. Shannon has also looked to, and at times, directly engaged with the work of other artists, such as Gordon Walters, amongst fellow New Zealand artists, as well as American minimalist Donald Judd, to explore and question ideas of representation and process, and more broadly, to investigate the act of creating.
‘What I am looking’ 2011 continues Shannon’s use of domestic, personal subject matter and her interest in the artistic process, however, reflects a new approach. As explained in her artist bio from Trish Clark Gallery: “Following the death of her partner, artist Julian Dashper, in 2009, Shannon has been cataloguing his works and archive in their shared Auckland studio. From this lengthy process she has gathered the material for her recent text-based video works and related photographs.” Taking its title from Dashper’s 1993 work ‘What I am reading at the moment’, the video presents a scrolling text that Shannon slowly narrates, at even cadence and void of emotion, as it moves down the screen. The text describes the contents of the studio, from artworks and exhibition catalogues to items of clothing and stacks of old crates, and recounts the tasks required to organise these objects and rearrange the studio space. In her artist statement Shannon remarks, “I was interested in making a video that only used text, and also in the idea of the redundant voiceover, reading aloud or telling the viewer what they are reading. In dealing with very emotive material, it was important for me to find a neutral way of describing it.” Evocative of the final credits of a film, the video offers a striking meditation on ‘endings’ – the end of a life, a partnership, a practice, a future – and indeed their harsh yet inescapable banality.
single channel digital video, black and white, sound
duration 00:07:11 min; aspect ratio: 4:3
Signature & date
Signed centre certificate of authenticity, black fibre-tipped pen "Marie Shannon". Not dated.
Gift of Trish Clarke 2016. Member of the Friends of New Zealand art
Not on display
© Marie Shannon
Shown in 1 exhibition
Here we are, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Aug 2019–13 Oct 2019