Maureen Selwood

Maureen Selwood (born 1946 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish-born American filmmaker and visual artist whose works employ simple line drawings, marriages between animation and live footage, digital projections and installations. She is a pioneer in the field of independent and experimental animation.[1] She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is the first animation artist to be awarded the Rome Prize in Visual Arts from the American Academy in Rome.[2]

Maureen Selwood at ANIMAC International Animation Festival 2008
Maureen Selwood at ANIMAC International Animation Festival in Spain, 2008. Photo taken by Carlos Cazurro

Early life and education

Maureen Selwood was born in Dublin, Ireland to an Irish mother, Helene Neylon and an English father, John Leslie Selwood. She has a fraternal twin sister, Helen. Selwood's mother, the youngest of twelve, went to England along with many of her sisters to help with the war effort during WWII. Shortly after arriving in London Selwood's mother met John Leslie, whom she married a few months later. John first went to America in 1941 with the British Air Ministry to work in the administration with the Lend Lease program. When the war was over his wife and children emigrated to the United States.[3]

The family eventually settled in Washington D.C., where Selwood took art classes at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. As a high school student during John F. Kennedy's presidency, Selwood was invited to work with Eunice Shriver in her efforts to study models of mentorship through Camp Shriver for the founding of the Special Olympics in 1962 and 1963.[4] As a young undergraduate at College of New Rochelle, Selwood worked as a volunteer for Daniel Berrigan in New York City, tutoring in Harlem.[5] After graduating with her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts on a full scholarship, Selwood joined the independent animation community that was forming in NYC in the 1970s.[6][7]


During the years Selwood lived in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s she produced the independent animation films Odalisque, The Rug, This Is Just To Say and Pearls.[8] Selwood is considered an integral part of the movement which evolved animation as a personal art form.[9]

In 1991, after Selwood moved to Los Angeles, Jules Engel, founder of the Experimental Animation Program at CalArts, invited Selwood to join the faculty. She went on to produce the films: Flying Circus: An Imagined Memoir; Hail Mary; Mistaken Identity; Drawing Lessons and A Modern Convenience.[10] Flying Circus premiered at the Venice Film Festival: La Biennale di Venezia and is inspired by Parade, the 1917 ballet by Picasso, Satie and Cocteau. Selwood plays with a childhood memory and uses animation to illustrate episodes of shifting tensions inside a circus tent.[11]

In 1987, Selwood designed and directed animations for David Grubin Productions:The Colors of Hope, a documentary for Amnesty International about political prisoners in Argentina[12] and I Started Early, based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, for PBS's Poetry Everywhere (2007). In 2002, Selwood was the first animation artist to receive a Rome Prize Fellowship.[13] As a Visual Arts Fellow at the American Academy of Rome, she created the installation, As The Veil Lifts, that went on to be exhibited at Frac Picardie in France alongside William Kentridge and Tabiamo. While in Rome Selwood collaborated with the poet James Galvin, who wrote the introduction for the book, Green Is For Privacy, a posthumous collaboration with her mother using her mother's drawings and writing about growing up with her mother's schizophrenia.[14]

As You Desire Me (2009) is a film and installation in response to the Iraq War. It uses surrealistic designed characters in real settings in the city of Rome[15] and opened at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall in Los Angeles.[16] It was included in the Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.[17][18]

Selwood has created digital projections in collaboration with Sardono Dance Theater and Jennifer Tipton for Rain Coloring Forest at REDCAT (2010)[19] and for the Metropolitan Opera's production of the opera Werther, by Jules Massenet, with Wendall K. Harrington (2014).[20] In 2015, Selwood's collaboration with the composer, David Rosenboom, How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims, (Section VII, Impression), screened at the Whitney Museum[21] at its new location in downtown New York. The role of the composer in her work is an integral part of her process. She has collaborated with composers Michael Riesman for Odalisque and The Rug; Rhys Chatham for The Box; Martin Bresnik for This Is Just To Say; Miroslav Tadic for Flying Circus: An Imagined Memoir; Anna Oxygen for As You Desire Me; Jesse Gilbert and Tanya Haden for Drawing Lessons; and Archie Carey and Odeya Nini for A Modern Convenience. The poet Mark Strand performed the voice over for the film Drawing Lessons.

Selwood has had solo drawing exhibits at Track 16 (2010) and the Rosamund Felsen Gallery (2015) titled Sounding the Note of A.[22] Sounding the Note of A featured transfer prints on paper, as well as large sculptural pieces inspired by the balaclavas of the band Pussy Riot.[23] The show explored themes of treason and the heroism of feminine resistance throughout history.[24] Also in 2015, Selwood wrote and directed 29 Cross Examinations which premiered at Automata Performance Space in Chinatown. This was a hybrid performance piece featuring animation, movement, and text from the transcriptions of the trial of Joan of Arc.[25]

Selwood lives in Los Angeles and continues to teach at the California Institute of the Arts on the faculty of the School of Film/Video in the Experimental Animation program.[26]


Selwood is known for developing a pictographic language of interiorized and unconscious drawings. Her work features drawing often in relation to photographic elements or live film footage.[27][28] Her work is often rooted in art history, mythology, and women on the fringe.[29] Her work deals with states of mutability in the human psyche, film noir, dada and surrealism. Her films have been influenced by and compared to Matisse's Fauvism, Cocteau, Fellini and Aldrich, as well as her longtime friend and mentor Jules Engel.[30] She has been credited for helping to challenge conventional notions of women as objects of desire in art history.[31][32][33]

Filmography and notable works

Odalisque: Three Fantasies in Pursuit (1980);[34][35] The Rug (1985);[36] This is Just to Say (1987); Pearls (1988); Flying Circus: An Imagined Memoir (1995), Hail Mary (1998); Mistaken Identity (2001); Drawing Lessons (2006); I Started Early (2007); As The Veil Lifts (2008); As You Desire Me (2009); A Modern Convenience (2012); Sounding the Note of A (2015).

Screenings and installations

Selwood's work has been shown internationally, including Sharjah Biennial (2013), with retrospectives at Se-Ma-For International Film Festival (2014), National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India (2013), REDCAT, and ANIMAC International Animation Festival,[37] Spain (2003). Her films have been screened at Annecy Animation Film Festival, Venice Biennale, New York Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Centre Georges Pompidou, Ann Arbor Film Festival, MOMA, SXSW, Ottawa Film Festival, Cardiff Film Festival, Cork Film Festival, Dallas Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival Chicago Film Festival, and many others. Installations include Tevereterno (Rome, 2006), River to Festival (New York, 2008), Frac Picardie, (France, 2008), American Academy in Rome (2003), MAK Center for Art and Architecture, (Los Angeles, 2001) and others.[38]

Awards and grants

Publications and writings

In 2008, Selwood published the book Green Is For Privacy, with an introduction by the poet James Galvin.[44]

Selwood is a featured artist in the 2013 book ANIMATION SKETCHBOOKS by Laura Heit; 2006 The Fundamentals of Animation by Paul Wells;[45][46] 2003, Animac Magazine: Writings on Animation by GIannalberto Bendazzi, George Griffin and Mario Sesti; 1996 The Encyclopedia of Animation Techniques by Richard Taylor; 1994 Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation by Gianalberto Bendazzi and 1988 Experimental Animation: Origins of a New Art edited by Robert Russett and Cecile Starr.

Selwood contributed to the compilation book Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women;[47] Frames by George Griffin;[48] Jennifer Heath's The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore and Politics.[49]


  1. ^ Bendazzi, Giannalberto (2015-11-06). Animation: A World History: Volume III: Contemporary Times. CRC Press. p. 48. ISBN 9781317519881.
  2. ^ Prescott, Dana (Fall 2003). "American Academy in Rome - Society of Fellow News" (PDF) – via
  3. ^ "The Washington Post Obituary". The Washington Post. March 10, 1987. pp. Section B8.
  4. ^ "Camp Shriver - Eunice Kennedy Shriver". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  5. ^ "Directory of Tutorial Projects" (PDF). United States National Tutoring Association: Tutorial Assistance Center. US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Office of Education. 1968.
  6. ^ Griffin, George (1978). Frames: A Selection of Drawings and Statements by Independent American Animators. Griffin, George. ASIN B000GWZ4FS.
  7. ^ Russett, Robert (1988). Experimental Animations: Origins of a New Art. p. 19. ISBN 0306803143.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (1986-12-31). "SCREEN: NEW AMERICAN ANIMATION". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (1987-01-18). "FILM VIEW; IN ANIMATION FOR CHILDREN, THE OLD DAYS WERE BETTER". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  10. ^ Selwood, Maureen (2002). "Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts". Animac: Writings on Animation (Vol. num. 1).
  11. ^ Selwood, Maureen; Tadic, Miroslav (2014-01-01). Flying circus: an imagined memoir.
  12. ^ "Movie Review - Las Madres The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  13. ^ "California Institute of the Arts".
  14. ^ Selwood, Maureen (2007). Green Is For Privacy. Maureen Selwood. ISBN 0977627519.
  15. ^ pfraser. "Maureen Selwood". REDCAT. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  16. ^ "A 2009 C.O.L.A. Visual Art Award (and Individual Artists Exhibit) for Maureen Selwood FAAR'03". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Sharjah Biennial".
  18. ^ "Art News".
  19. ^ smith. "Sardono Dance Theater and Jennifer Tipton". REDCAT. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  20. ^ "The Metropolitan Opera" (PDF).
  21. ^ "David Rosenboom: Continental Divide and How Much Better If Plymouth Rock Had Landed On The Pilgrims | Whitney Museum of American Art". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  22. ^ "Exhibitions". Rosamund Felsen. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Power, feminism and giant, knitted balaclavas: artist Maureen Selwood's Pussy Riot tribute". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  24. ^ Wood, Eve (November 5, 2015). "Maureen Selwood". Artillery Magazine. Artillery Magazine.
  25. ^ "Datebook: Taking on Jackie Kennedy, videos of animal life, the trials of Joan of Arc". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  26. ^ "Maureen Selwood | CalArts Faculty/Staff Directory". Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  27. ^ The Animation Book: A Complete Guide to Animated Filmmaking--From Flip-Books to Sound Cartoons to 3- D Animation (Rev Sub ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. 1998-11-01. p. 165. ISBN 9780517886021.
  28. ^ Taylor, Richard (Formerly Professor of A. Taylor Richard (1999-01-01). The Encyclopedia of Animation Techniques. London: Focal Pr. pp. 116–117. ISBN 9780240515762.
  29. ^ Moritz, William (1996). Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey, ed. "Animation in the Post Industrial Era". The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press: 551–558.
  30. ^ Chevat, Zoe (April 25, 2012). "Maureen Selwood Takes An Imaginary Voyage". Animation World Network.
  31. ^ Rabinovitz, Lauren (1987). Soloman, Charles, ed. "Women Animators and Women's Experiences". The Art of the Animated Image: An Anthology. American Film Institute. ISBN 9991475338.
  32. ^ McKenna, Kristine (1995-04-02). "Women Break Out of the Cel Block". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  33. ^ "Maureen Selwood | GREAT WOMEN ANIMATORS". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  34. ^ Maslin, Janet (1986-12-31). "SCREEN: NEW AMERICAN ANIMATION". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  35. ^ Bendazzi, Giannalberto (1994). Cartoons One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation, Animation in the United States. John Libbey Cinema and Animation. p. 256. ISBN 0861964454.
  36. ^ Wells, Paul (2006-06-01). Fundamentals of Animation. Lausanne: Fairchild Books AVA. ISBN 9782940373024.
  37. ^
  39. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation - Maureen Selwood". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  40. ^ ":: CCI :: ARC Grants ::". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  41. ^ Pagel, David (2009-06-02). "COLA 2009 an accessible brew in Barnsdall Park". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  42. ^ "Maureen Selwood". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  43. ^ "California Institute of the Arts".
  44. ^ "MAUREEN SELWOOD: in conversation with Susan Morgan | Skylight Books".
  45. ^ Wells, Paul (2006-06-01). Fundamentals of Animation. Lausanne: Fairchild Books AVA. pp. 141–145. ISBN 9782940373024.
  46. ^ Heit, Laura (2013-07-23). Animation Sketchbooks. Chronicle Books. ISBN 9781452119700.
  47. ^ Stillman, Deanne; Beatts, Anne P. (1976-01-01). Titters: The first collection of humor by women (1st Collier Books ed.). Collier Books. ISBN 9780020407003.
  48. ^ Griffin, George (1979-01-01). Frames: a selection of drawings and statements by independent American animators, assembled in New York City, 1978. Griffin.
  49. ^ The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics (1 ed.). University of California Press. 2008-07-02. ISBN 9780520255180.
Anna Oxygen

Anna Jordan Huff (Mercovich) is an American multi-media artist, composer, producer and actress best known by her stage name Anna Oxygen. After starting her music career as a member of the Space Ballerinas, a synthpop group then based in Olympia, she recorded her debut solo album All Your Faded Things (2003) with producer Justin Trosper, before releasing her second album This Is an Exercise (2006) on the Kill Rock Stars label. Her albums have featured guest vocalists such as Beth Ditto and Mirah.Currently based in Ithaca, New York, Huff has appeared as a guest artist on recordings by groups such as The Microphones. Huff is also a member of Cloud Eye Control, a performance art group, and is a member of the psychedelic folk group Day/Moon. Her feature film debut as an actress was the 2005 film Police Beat, and she has written for a number of film soundtracks, including the three films This World Made Itself, Myth and Infrastructure, and Dreaming of Lucid Living, animated by Miwa Matreyek, and numerous short films by animator Maureen Selwood.

List of Fellows of the American Academy in Rome 1991–2010

List of Fellows and Residents of the American Academy in Rome is a list of those who have been awarded the Rome Prize or were Residents of the American Academy in Rome.

The Rome Prize is a prestigious American award made annually by the American Academy in Rome, through a nationwide competition, to 15 emerging artists (working in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Literature, Musical Composition, or Visual Arts) and to 15 scholars (working in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and early Modern, or Modern Italian Studies). Residents are selected from scholars and creative artists at a further stages in their career for shorter residencies at the American Academy. Some of these Residents are marked (R) in the table below. Affiliated Fellows (AFAAR) and Visiting Artists and Scholars are not listed below.

List of Guggenheim Fellowships awarded in 1992

List of Guggenheim Fellowships awarded in 1992

Scratch and Crow

Scratch and Crow (1995) is a four-minute, 16mm, animated film made by Helen Hill as her MFA thesis at the California Institute of the Arts. On January 1, 2017, an authorized Helen Hill Vimeo account launched and includes a high-resolution streaming version of the film, with this annotation: "This hand drawn animated film reveals the secret life cycle of chickens, from their hatching by mother cats to their noisy ascent into Heaven. Filmed in 16 mm."

Harvard University Library created The Helen Hill Collection, 1990-2006: Film Guide (2011), which describes the non-narrative content of the film in this way: "Animated cats hatch eggs; watermelons fall from the sky; chickens become angels and fly out of tombstones; coiled springs symbolize inner meanings and then the film ends."

Scratch and Crow has no dialogue, spoken narration, or human voices. Its soundtrack is a mix of subtle sound effects and animals sounds. A non-narrative film, it includes three poetic intertitles written in the first person (e.g., "If I knew,/ I would assure you we are all / Finally good chickens / And will rise together, / A noisy flock of round, / Dusty angels.")In 2009, the Librarian of Congress named Scratch and Crow to the National Film Registry, a designation reserved for American films deemed worthy of preservation for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. The Library's news release stated: "Consistent with the short films she made from age 11 until her death at 36, this animated short work is filled with vivid color and a light sense of humor. It is also a poetic and spiritual homage to animals and the human soul."Colorlab preserved the film in 2007, contributing pro bono lab work for a consortium that included the Hill estate, Paul Gailiunas, Harvard Film Archive, the University of South Carolina, New York University, BB Optics, and the Orphan Film Project. Colorlab's new 16mm print premiered at the 2007 Ann Arbor Film Festival, which was dedicated to Helen Hill, who died that year.

Stefan Gruber

Stefan Gruber (born December 8, 1975) is an American experimental animator and performance artist from Seattle, Washington. They create hand-drawn, digitally finished experimental animation shorts and are Animation Department founder and teacher at The Nova Animation Project and the founder of Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT).

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