Sleeping Near the River

Marie Shannon, Artist

This is one of the videos or dvd with image and sound in our collection. It was made in Whanganui, Whanganui Region, New Zealand in 2019.
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Object Detail

About the Work
Auckland-based artist Marie Shannon was the Sarjeant Gallery’s artist in residence at Tylee Cottage for three months in 2019. Working in photography and film, the cottage and Whanganui inspired two distinct bodies of work – pared back photographs of the cottage’s architectural details, as well as video works. Shannon spent time at the North Mole where the Whanganui River meets the Tasman Sea and she was interested in the wildness of the beach and how the two bodies of water met. During her residency she filmed the outgoing tide and the incoming waves and this moving image forms the background for a work titled Sleeping Near the River.
Shannon has sometimes used her own dreams to construct narratives for her video works. She comments “During my time as artist in residence I was interested in the way the river might sit in my subconscious. I kept a dream diary, for no specific purpose other than to observe where I went when I was asleep, now that I was no longer home”. In her video, text appears on the screen - a date, then a list of words emerging one by one, containing the themes of that night’s dreams. This is followed by a single sentence of spoken text, which is the first sentence of the narrative of the dream. The work is expanded in the form of an artist’s book where the full narrative of the dream is reproduced.
In contrast to this video work are six photographs of architectural details from the cottage – the corners of the attic bedroom, a dormer window, a lightshade, bookcase and a ceiling beam. To create these sparse images, Shannon returned to model making, which was a feature of her earlier photographic work. These replicas of simple spaces are to scale and allowed Shannon to photograph the interiors of the cottage when she returned to her Auckland base, where she was careful to light them from the same direction as the light falls in the cottage. In these photographs it’s difficult to tell what is fact and fiction as Shannon’s images are faithful facsimiles. In a world where image making is instant, Shannon’s use of a large-format camera means that many elements need to be considered very carefully before an image is taken. The photographs in production and subject matter are contemplative and considered. Shannon’s Whanganui residency focused on her immediate environs and the quiet conversation of light, line and the slow passing of time.
- Greg Donson, Curator & Public Programmes Manager, exhibition text for 'Sleeping Near the River', Sarjeant on the Quay,14 Aug - 14 Nov 2021
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digital video
Video work filmed in 2019 while Marie Shannon was the Sarjeant Gallery's artist in residence for a period of three months at Tylee Cottage. Filmed at the North Mole at the mouth of the Whanganui River. Images of the water with diary text overlaid cataloguing events on specific dates.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Tylee Residency exhange, 2022
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
20 Aug 2022



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