Auckland-based artist Marie Shannon has been creating delicately intimate and thoughtful works for over thirty years. While her immediate domestic surroundings have remained her primary concern, her work has at times addressed the artwork of others as a way to investigate the creative process. Working with photography as her principal medium, Shannon’s practice also incorporates drawing and video.
Shannon’s photographs are made on a large-format camera, resulting in sharp, finely detailed images, hand-printed by Shannon in silver gelatin variously toned with sepia, selenium and gold. She often stages or carefully constructs her photographs, or documents the process of making objects that are then photographed. Shannon is also interested in the narrative or poetic resonance of the single object. Past subjects have included photographs of her son Leo’s sketchbook and love notes; oil pastel installation sketches of her show at Sue Crockford Gallery; an embroidered fabric collage of a Gordon Walters koru painting, and photographs of the plaster cast made as part of the process of her partner’s radiation therapy.
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. Her desire to use text in a visual, as well as a narrative context, stems from an interest in the conventions of text titles and credits in movies.
Graduating with a BFA from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1983, Shannon has been critically acclaimed since 1996 in representing New Zealand at Australia’s Asia-Pacific Triennale. That same year she exhibited in Sydney’s Australian Centre for Photography, then in 1998 at New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster and Melbourne’s ACCA. Her work was included in exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney, and Amsterdam. Her touring survey exhibition, Rooms found only in the home, was developed by Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2018 and toured to Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, before its planned Australian leg at Sydney’s MCA in 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19. More recently, Sleeping Near the River, showed at Sarjeant Gallery and alongside new work at Trish Clark Gallery.
Shannon lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.