Ann Shelton, Tracy Keith And Essi Airisniemi
Her thick old skin
2021-04-22 - 2021-05-15
Contemporary narratives of disrupted ecologies meet ancient mythologies in this exhibition of threee artists whose work, in the age of the anthropocene and human induced climate change, invokes a Gaian sensibility of an ancient earth mother rising to protect her terrain from exploitation.

Overlaying the complexity of these conceptual underpinnings are visually charismatic, carefully crafted surfaces, which serve to seduce consideration of the ways nature intersects with human knowledge and belief systems.

The exhibition includes works from Ann Shelton's series the missionaries - a multi-layered examination of the plants brought to Aotearoa by early settlers. Writer Emil McAvoy has described these plants as "photogenic ambassadors... envoys without clear knowledge of the impact of their arrival -- colonists without a game plan." Transported into a new and very different land in the southern seas, the plants responded in unanticipated ways. Shelton, who is an established artist and Honorary Research Fellow in Photography at Whiti o Rehua, School of Art, Massey University, has long been interested in plant histories and their relationship to power structures. She grows most of the plants she employs and creates all the arrangements in her hyper-real large-scales portraits drawing here on the arts and crafts movement which developed in the mid-19th century UK in response to industrialization.

Tracy Keith produces distinctive raku-fired vessels and sculptures. With their sense of dystopian industry, weathered surfaces and splashes of intense and vibrant colours drawn from deep in the earth, they speak to alternative paradigms embedded in sci-fi and fantasy genres of film and literature. Poneke based, Keith (Ngā Puhi) employs uku, clay, to awaken a nascent awareness of how far humankind has moved from the pure and primeval place where people once lived in "the close and perpetual embrace of Papatūānuku (mother-earth)". Keith has a Master of Fine Arts from the Whitecliff College of Art and Design.

We are delighted to introduce the work of Essi Airisniemi, a Finnish artist who is resident in Wellington, following the completion of a Master in Fine Arts at Massey University in 2018. Airisniemi draws on Finnish folk lore and traditional knowledge of plants and forest ecologies, informed by a feminist reading of the characters in the old stories, particularly around the Finnish goddess of the forests. Working predominantly in plywood, she creates cut-out forms of plants and female characters that stand freely or are suspended in space, and navigate between the ancient and 'modern', the fairy and the scientific, the natural and constructed. Shape-shifting and ideas of transformation and metamorphosis are central interests in her practice.



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The Banshee, Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Banshee, Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Governess, Darwin's Barberry (Berberis darwinii)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Governess, Darwin's Barberry (Berberis darwinii)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
Tangy on the tongue
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
1440 x 390 mm

SOLD
Tangy on the tongue
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
1440 x 390 mm

SOLD
The Suffragette
2021
Ann Shelton


SOLD
The Suffragette
2021
Ann Shelton


SOLD
The Dowager, Pine (Pinus radiata)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Dowager, Pine (Pinus radiata)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Seamstress, Dock (Rumex obtusifolius L)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Seamstress, Dock (Rumex obtusifolius L)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
Sienna desert
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
200 x 320 mm
Sienna desert
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
200 x 320 mm
Her thick old skin
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
185 x 250 mm
Her thick old skin
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
185 x 250 mm
Astral body
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 320 mm
Astral body
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 320 mm
Atua of the forest
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
205 x 305 mm
Atua of the forest
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
205 x 305 mm
Lava Flow
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
160 x 225 mm
Lava Flow
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
160 x 225 mm
Magma flow
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
225 x 320 mm
Magma flow
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
225 x 320 mm
Lament for Tāne-mahuta
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
245 x 310 mm
Lament for Tāne-mahuta
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
245 x 310 mm
Celestial chalice
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 340 mm
Celestial chalice
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 340 mm
Asteroid fragment
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
220 x 315 mm
Asteroid fragment
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
220 x 315 mm
Tui vessel
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
175 x 275 mm

SOLD
Tui vessel
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
175 x 275 mm

SOLD
Deep blue ocean fading
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 340 mm
Deep blue ocean fading
2021
Tracy Keith
raku fired ceramic
210 x 340 mm
Installation view 1
Installation view 1
The House Keeper, Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The House Keeper, Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
Forest fold
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
2000 x 2970 mm
Forest fold
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
2000 x 2970 mm
The Woodswoman, Gorse, (Ulex europaeus)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Woodswoman, Gorse, (Ulex europaeus)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Land Girl, Macrocarpa (Cupressus macrocarpa)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
The Land Girl, Macrocarpa (Cupressus macrocarpa)
2017
Ann Shelton
archival pigment print in hand painted artist frame
1160 x 880 mm
Fleeting light of the bones
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
2300 x 720 mm
Fleeting light of the bones
2021
Essi Airisniemi
painted cut plywood
2300 x 720 mm