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.