Artist Profile

Anah Dunsheath


Since her teenage years Anah Dunsheath has collected and traded rare books and today she owns the leading antiquarian bookshop in New Zealand, dealing exclusively in books and maps from the nineteenth century and earlier. More recently she has indulged her passion for making art.

She has always been interested in modern realism, optical art and Trompe l'oeil. Investigating and experimenting with subject matter, form and process, her 'magic realism' works on the notion of reversed perspective. After much experimentation, trial and error, she has created three-dimensional `moving pictures'. These fascinating paintings are created on shaped wooden constructions whose picture planes appear to shift and move as the spectator changes their position and angle of viewing.

Since her first solo show with Ferner Gallery in 2003, Dunsheath's works have become highly sought after by contemporary collectors of art. She has also experimented on large flat boards and had developed an astonishing illusory style entirely her own. This 'hyper real' contemporary art appears to be poles apart from her life as an antiquarian bookseller. Underpinning the gloss of the images, the artist seriously questions consumerism and advertising, yet is fascinated by loud packaging and signage.

The architecture of the city, and the human form, feature strongly in Dunsheath's recent exhibition of new works, FUEL. The narratives of the artist are played out in the unlikely location of the petrol station forecourt. This frequently visited, commonplace location is elevated by the artist, rendered as a slick, urbane destination. Colour is bold, form is hard-edged, and scale is manipulated to create unfamiliar images that demand contemplation.

Dunsheath has studied at Elam School of Fine Arts and her works have been acquired by many private collectors in New Zealand and overseas. In 2006 she was a finalist in the second selection for Australia's Archibald Portrait Prize, and in 2007 she was a finalist in the James Wallace Awards.

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Ferner Key