Maureen Selwood is a filmmaker artist who works with visual art, digital media, installation, and performance. A pioneer in the field of independent experimental animation, Selwood has both charted new territory for women artists, and reframed conventional notions of women as objects of desire in art history. Rooted aesthetically in film noir, dada and surrealism her work explores carnivals, festivals, and religious rites as celebrations and showcases for the imaginary.

After graduating with her MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Selwood found herself at the center of a burgeoning new scene in independent animation, which aligned itself more with the art world than with the traditional animation establishments of the time.  Selwood produced such ground breaking films as: Odalisque, The Rug, This Is Just To Say and Pearls. Critics celebrated Selwood's ingenuity and artistic elegance. After NY Selwood moved to Los Angeles where Jules Engel invited her to teach at California Institute of the Arts in the Experimental Animation Program. Shaped by influences she experienced there, she produced: Flying Circus: An Imagined Memoir; Hail Mary; Mistaken Identity; Drawing Lessons; and A Modern Convenience.

Selwood was a recipient of the prestigious Rome Prize and while in Rome she created the installation, As The Veil Lift. Resistance and the book, Green Is for Privacy. As You Desire Me (2009) is an installation created in response to the Iraq War. In 2010, Selwood created digital animations for Rain Coloring Forest by Sardono and Jennifer Tipton at REDCAT. In 2014, Selwood created animation for The Metropolitan Opera's production of the opera Werther, by Jules Massenet. In 2015, Selwood’s film for the composer David Rosenboom, How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims, delete (Section VII, Impression), was screened at the Whitney Museum.

In 2015, Selwood opened her exhibition at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles. Titled Sounding the Note of A, it featured drawings and transfer prints, as well as large sculptural pieces inspired by the balaclavas of Pussy Riot. Also in 2015, Selwood created 29 Cross Examinations. With live performance, film, and transcripts from the actual trial of Joan of Arc, Selwood animates Joan’s interior life and cracks open a new perspective on this much mythologized folk hero.

Portrait of Maureen Selwood
Still courtesy of the Academy’s Oral History Projects Department. Copyright © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Selwood is the recipient of awards from: John Solomon Guggenheim Foundation; Center for Cultural Innovation (Los Angeles); C.O.L.A. Individual Artists Fellowship (LA); New York State Council on the Arts; The Jerome Foundation; The American Film Institute. She is the first artist to receive the Rome Prize in Visual Arts from the American Academy in Rome in the area of animation. The Academy of Motion Pictures has selected the films of Maureen Selwood for preservation under the supervision of curator and preservationist, Mark Toscano.