Peter Shelton is an American sculptor born in 1951 in Troy, Ohio. He received his BA from Pomona College in Southern California in 1973, and afterward returned to Troy where he attended the Hobart Brothers School of Welding Technology and worked as a welder for several years. Shelton eventually returned to Southern California and received his MFA from UCLA in 1979. While at UCLA, he began producing large scale sculptures which combined anthropomorphic forms with completely abstract elements. Many of these pieces involve complex layering and careful spatial arrangements, themes that continue to play a critical role in Shelton’s sculptural practice.
In his work, Shelton often explores the intrinsic qualities of his materials, and the questions of form and space that they create. Working in a diverse range of media, including metals, glass, cement, water, paint, and fiberglass, his works can often seem incongruous and surprising such as a strapless, waist-cinching dress made of acrylic and fiberglass. He has said “I like to think of my work as a threshold between in and out, object and space, heavy and light.”
Shelton has exhibited extensively, including solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1987; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1994; University of California, Berkeley 1998; the Irish Museum of Modern Art 1998-1999; and Portland Art Museum, 2011. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, 2009; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, 2004; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, 2004; Tate Gallery Liverpool, England, 1998; and Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, 2006. Additionally, his work is represented in the permanent collections of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC; The Walker Art Center, MN; and The Getty Museum, CA among many others.