Selina Ou

Selina Ou

Selina Ou is known for her large-scale colour photographs of metropolitan working life. In documentary style, she often seeks out employees in the service industry. In her works, she explores themes of identity and consumerism.

Ou was born in Malaysia and moved to Australia at the age of two. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours majoring in Photography at the Victorian College of the Arts, and now lives and works in Melbourne.

Ou has undertaken numerous artist residencies in Australia, China, Japan, Chile and the USA, funded by grants from the Australia Council, Arts Victoria and by municipalities in China and Japan. She has also been the recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts Greene Street residency in New York and the Gertrude Contemporary studio residency.

Awarded the ANZ Emerging Artist Award in 2005, Ou’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Monash Gallery of Art, Hobart City Council, Artbank, the Australia Council and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Chile.

Her work is also included in the UBS Art Collection and the JGS Collection in New York, as well as in numerous private collections.


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26/04/2022 – 21/05/2022

NEIGHBOURHOOD TALES | PHOTO 2022

Selina Ou is recognised and celebrated for her large-scale documentary style photographs that often depict her subjects at work. Across a practice spanning more than two decades, Ou has sought out employees in the service industry – bartenders, butchers, chemists, and shop assistants of all kinds – to explore themes of consumerism, cultural and social hierarchies, identity and personal worth. By extending this focus to countries such as China, Japan, Chile and the United States, Ou’s images also bring into sharp relief the challenge of maintaining culturally specific traditions and ways of life in the face of global capitalism and its rampant consumerism. Ou’s images are dependent on the willing collaboration of her subjects, who are treated with a dignity and respect that places them at the centre of the frame, enabling them to participate in the way in which, through her photographs, they are presented to the world. Despite their recognisable roles, Ou’s subjects are not ‘types’. They are individuals, replete with their own rich and complex lives beyond their occupations. It is the hint of this – the realms beyond the expectations of work and the presentation of a public face, that give these photographs their power. The images comprising Ou’s most recent series, Neighbourhood Tales, have moved away from the subject of work to a more personal space – one where motherhood and the making of art coexist. The fact that the mother of the children in these images is the person behind the lens brings a complex bundle of emotions to these photographs – a whirling dervish of intense love, longing, anxiety and anticipation of futures and possibilities yet unknown. In several of the works, Ou’s young sons stand at the boundary of the environment they find themselves in – staring into an empty soccer pitch or vacant amphitheatre, at a skate ramp devoid of skaters, or at the edge of a new housing estate under construction. The sense of the subjects being at a precipice in these images, and the tension of what lies beyond that invisible threshold is palpable. The artist-mother’s hope for their futures charges the stillness of these spare and beautiful photographs. Will they find a space of acceptance or rejection, a place of community and belonging? Will their cultural heritage prove a hurdle? Will they be touched by the violence of society? Will they be safe, and loved? And yet, as both mother and image-maker, these photographs also capture exquisite moments of childhood, with its ‘first times’, its boredom, its frustrations, joys, and surprises. This is a place she can’t be part of, but can only support, nourish and observe. In her 2010 series Beside Myself, Ou photographed women in domestic interiors in several different guises – dressed up, lounging around, as working professionals, artists, and mothers – presenting each aspect of the individual subject within the one image. This sense of split and multiple ‘selves’ speaks gently but insistently of the complexity of women’s lives; of the different and often invisible roles they are required to assume, and of the very real toll of this contemporary burden. As discussion continues around 20th-century feminism’s promise that women can ‘have it all’, Ou’s public insertion of her role as mother into Neighbourhood Tales brings these issues to the fore while knowingly highlighting the specific challenges of the artist-mother – the push-pull that occurs between the desire to create (and the time, dedication, and headspace that this requires) and the need to be a good mother. While there is currently much discussion about the cultural biases and institutional impediments to the success of women artists and the changes required to remedy this, little has been written about the impact of motherhood and of caring responsibilities on the careers of women artists. Women artists have certainly juggled the making of art and motherhood across the course of art history (from Artemisia Gentileschi and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun to Louise Bourgeois, Alice Neel and Kara Walker), and photographers such as Sally Mann and Polixeni Papapetrou have actively collaborated with their children in their image making. But until recently however, the perception of a successful woman artist largely accorded with Tracey Emin’s famous quip, ‘There are good artists that have children. Of course there are. They are called men.’ In practice, contemporary women artists are constantly shifting the dial on long-held assumptions about what it takes to lead a creative life, but by bringing motherhood, as Ou has done, into the work itself, these issues are foregrounded in a way that cannot be ignored. Embedding artmaking in the fantastic mess of family life, makes it both accessible, understandable, and meaningful. Surely this is something to be celebrated. —Kelly Gellatly Kelly Gellatly is a curator, writer and arts advocate and is the founding director of Agency Untitled.

01/06/2022

SELENA OU AT WOLLONGONG ART GALLERY

Works by Selena Ou will be on display at Wollongong Art Gallery from 11th June to 28th March next year.

Recent gifts of contemporary prints and photographs from Ferrier Hodgson, 1976 - 2018 (now KPMG), works acquired through Amanda Love, LoveArt.

The works explore the precarious position artists occupy, the mysteries of human evolution, displacement and isolation, and reference popular culture, capitalism and corporations. Artists include Brook Andrew, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Tracey Moffatt, Selina Ou and Patricia Piccinini.


10/03/2022

SELINA OU IN 'WHO ARE YOU: AUSTRALIAN PORTRAITURE' AT NGV

Selina's work 'Anita (ticket seller)' has been included in this joint exhibition between the NGV and the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra) on view from 25 March until the 21 August at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Level 3.

Click here for more information.

Selina Ou, Anita (Ticket Seller), 2002, chromogenic photograph, 100 x 100cm


09/02/2019

SELINA OU IN BELLE MAGAZINE

Virgin Cinema Attendants, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, 2005, from Selina Ou's Sakura Season series of photographs, is featured in the current issue of Belle Magazine. The work hangs in the dining room of a South Yarra residence designed by Full of Grace Interiors, photographed by Fi Storey.

Contact the gallery to enquire about available works.

Image: Selina Ou, Virgin Cinema Attendants, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, 2005, featured in Belle Magazine, 2019. Photo: Fi Storey


11/10/2018

SELINA OU ON ABC'S 7.30

Selina Ou has been selected as an artist in the National Portrait Gallery's 20/20 exhibition, which celebrates 20 years of the National Portrait Gallery with 20 new portrait commissions. Selina was commissioned to produce a portrait of quantum physicist Michelle Simmons.

Ahead of the exhibition, Ou was recently interviewed on ABC's 7.30

20/20 is on display until 10 February 2019. For further details, please click here.

Image: Selina Ou, Michelle Simmons, 2018


11/09/2018

SELINA OU AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Selina Ou has been selected as an artist in the National Portrait Gallery's 20/20 exhibition, which celebrates 20 years of the National Portrait Gallery with 20 new portrait commissions. Selina was commissioned to produce a portrait of quantum physicist Michelle Simmons.

20/20 will be on display from 20 October until 10 February 2019.

Image: Selina Ou, Michelle Simmons, 2018


Showing all 78 artworks

Selina Ou The Temple 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pond 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Goal 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pines 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Red Lanterns 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Amphitheatre 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Ramp 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Community Fence 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The New Suburb 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pony 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Neighbour 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Playground 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Trampoline 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Kite 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Watch Store, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Snack stand, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall, Procidencia, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall #2, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall #1, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #5, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #3, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Raquel, Waitress and Fashion Designer, Nolita, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Tim, Hair Stylist, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Jerome, Retail Assistant and Fashion Designer, Soho, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Derek, Student, Chrystie St, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Phillip, Manager, Bustin Boards, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Craig and Christopher, Marines, Intrepid Museum, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Carolyn and Janet, Lolitas, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Issa and Lamine, Taxi Mechanics, Upper West Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Clementine, Liz and Billy Bob, Mercer-Houston Dog Run, Greenwich Village, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Darren, Model and Carlito, Artist, Soho, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Calzado Sport Shoe Stall, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Magazine Stand, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Magazine Stand, Matacuna Street, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Kiosk, Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Food Store, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Hardware Store #4, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #2, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #1, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Young Couple with Deer, Nara 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm
Selina Ou We Love Green Convenience Store, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Text Messaging, Maruyama Park, Kyoto 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm
Selina Ou Supermarket assistant, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm
Selina Ou School Photograph, Daibutsu, Kotokuin Temple, Kamakura 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm
Selina Ou Roadworker, Shinjuku, Tokyo 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm
Selina Ou Landscape Gardening, Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Building Construction Site, Shinjuku, Tokyo, edition 1/8 2005 c-type print, editioned 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Baseball training, Myoshinji Temple, Kyoto 2005 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou After Hours Kiosk, Shinagawa Station, Tokyo, 2005 2005 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou After Hours Kiosk, Shinagawa Station, Tokyo, 2005 2005 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Baseball Training at Myoshinji Temple, Arashiyama 2005 c type print, Artist's proof A/P 1 of 3 65 x 65 cm Sold
Selina Ou Magazine Stand, Matacuna Street, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c type print, Artist's proof A/P 1 of 3 65 x 65 cm Sold
Selina Ou Hardware Store #2, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Hardware Store #1, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Calzado Sport Shoe Stall, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006 c-type print 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Raquel, Waitress and Fashion Designer, Nolita, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Tim, Hair Stylist, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Jerome, Retail Assistant and Fashion Designer, Soho, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Derek, Student, Chrystie St, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Phillip, Manager, Bustin Boards, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Craig and Christopher, Marines, Intrepid Museum, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Carolyn and Janet, Lolitas, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Issa and Lamine, Taxi Mechanics, Upper West Side, New York 2011 c-type photo, edition 1 of 5 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Clementine, Liz and Billy Bob, Mercer-Houston Dog Run, Greenwich Village, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Darren, Model and Carlito, Artist, Soho, New York 2011 c-type photo 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Text Messaging, Maruyama Park, Kyoto 2005 c-type photo, edition 3 of 8 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Young Couple with Deer, Nara 2005 c-type photo, edition 5 of 8 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Roadworker, Shinjuku, Tokyo 2005 c-type photo, edition 3 of 8 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Landscape Gardening, Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto 2005 c-type print, edition 5 of 8 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou We Love Green Convenience Store, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print, edition 1 of 8 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou Virgin Cinema Attendants, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print 120 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Supermarket assistant, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print 120 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou School Photograph, Daibutsu, Kotokuin Temple, Kamakura 2005 c-type print 120 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Magazine Stand, Central Station, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Kiosk, Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Hardware Store #4, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print 100 x 100 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Food Store, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print 100 x 100 cm Sold
Selina Ou Building Construction Site, Shinjuku, Tokyo, edition 1/8 2005 c-type print 120 x 120 cm Sold
Selina Ou The Temple 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pond 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Goal 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pines 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Red Lanterns 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Amphitheatre 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Ramp 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Community Fence 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The New Suburb 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Pony 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Neighbour 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Playground 2021 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Trampoline 2022 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou The Kite 2020 inkjet print 80 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Virgin Cinema Attendants, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo 2005 c-type print 120 x 120 cm $3,300.00
Selina Ou Carolyn and Janet, Lolitas, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Watch Store, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Snack stand, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall, Procidencia, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall #2, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Fruit and Vegetables Stall #1, La Vega Central, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #5, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Hardware Store #3, Matucana Street, Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Chile 2006-07 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Raquel, Waitress and Fashion Designer, Nolita, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Tim, Hair Stylist, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Jerome, Retail Assistant and Fashion Designer, Soho, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Derek, Student, Chrystie St, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Phillip, Manager, Bustin Boards, Lower East Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Craig and Christopher, Marines, Intrepid Museum, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Issa and Lamine, Taxi Mechanics, Upper West Side, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Clementine, Liz and Billy Bob, Mercer-Houston Dog Run, Greenwich Village, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm
Selina Ou Darren, Model and Carlito, Artist, Soho, New York 2011 c-type print, editioned 100 x 100 cm