The Hanging Sky, 2007
Acrylic on canvas
265 x 265 cm

artist profile

Shane Cotton



lives and works

Palmerston North, New Zealand


BFA, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 1988

about the artist

One of the most significant painters to have emerged from the South Pacific in recent decades, Shane Cotton brandishes an artistic vocabulary that is firmly entrenched in the bicultural landscape of his home country of New Zealand. Throughout his practice, he has heavily referenced indigenous Maori iconography as well as imported European imagery, philosophies, and ideals. Through his deft draftsmanship and impeccable painting skills, Cotton has created his own enduring mythology. His paintings seek to unsettle preexisting codes and question historical, spiritual, and cultural pasts. They evoke the epic, propose new perspectives upon grand narratives, and persuade their viewers to search out the multiple meanings an image may possess. A leading contemporary artist of the region, Cotton has exhibited prolifically across Australia and New Zealand. He has been a recipient of numerous grants and awards over the years: these include the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship from the University of Otago, the Seppelt Contemporary Art Award for Visual Arts from the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, both in 1986, the Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Award for New Work in 1999, and the NZ Arts Foundation Laureate Award in recognition of Artistic Achievement in 2008. A major retrospective surveying his work between 1993 and 2003 traveled within New Zealand over 2003 and 2004, in conjunction with a significant monograph. In 2012, he will be honored again with a major retrospective and an updated monograph with exhibitions to be held in Brisbane, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand. 

  • Selected exhibition history
  • Permanent collections
  • Projects
  • Editions
  • Publications
  • Recent news

2011GROUP Roundabout, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel

2010GROUP The Beauty of Distance, 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia

GROUP Roundabout, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand

2009GROUP Art in the Contemporary Pacific 2009 - The Great Journey: In Pursuit of the Ancestral Realm, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan

2007GROUP Turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, New Zealand

2006GROUP Nuclear Reactions, Caja de Burgos Art Centre, Spain

2004GROUP Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific, Asia Society Museum, New York, USA

2003SOLO Shane Cotton: Paintings, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

SOLO Shane Cotton Survey 1993-2003, City Gallery Wellington; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, New Zealand

2001GROUP Empathy: Beyond the Horizon, Artspace, Sydney, Australia

2000SOLO Te Timatanga: From Eden to Ohaeawai, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand

1999SOLO Shane Cotton, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

1995SOLO Shane Cotton: Recent Paintings, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Shane Cotton

Shane Cotton


  Somewhere Beautiful, 2012, by Shane Cotton & The ChillsPublished by Far South Records    Shane CottonRolling MoonTwo mixed media prints with multiple silk-screens, metal foil and unique additions on Arches paper. Diptych, 50 x 50 cm each. Signed verso. Each print diptych is uniquely silk-screened with a different lyric by… [more]