Ann Shelton — mother lode
mother lode engages an inspirational site: a small farm that ameliorates climate change and stands for food security and food ethics. Wairarapa Eco Farm is an oasis, a tiny salve on the open wound of the climate emergency. Disrupting our aesthetically based relationship with garden landscapes and the Edenic heritage of such manufactured notions of nature, this group of images engage with the history of gardens and their representation in an art historical context. Taken at Wairarapa Eco Farm, they oppose the formulaic and crafted nature of the gardens we have come to regard as beautiful and which have long populated our art historical frame. This garden is a wholly different aesthetic beast where groupings of kale can just be seen emerging from clumps of grass in summer, and trees, herbs and all kinds of plant matter co-exist and thrive.
This patch of ground is where my vegetables and eggs have been produced for the last thirteen years. The farm operates under the political structure of Community Supported Agriculture, which allows farmers to rely on a predictable income through the advance payment of shares in return for a season's produce. Oppositional to the monolithic and monocultural farms that surround it, Wairarapa Eco Farm offers an alternate model for food production and supply. - Ann Shelton
The exhibition is accompanied by an artist book. This includes a group of digital drawings, made by Shelton and her longtime creative collaborator Duncan Munro, and a short story by award winning Wellington writer Pip Adam. The drawings, generated from elements of the photographs, refer to unseen aspects of the farm eco-system: the machinations of microbes, soil, and living organisms of all types.