Shelli Weiler is an artist from New York with a BA in Studio Art from Wesleyan University, where she studied photography among other digital arts practices. Her work primarily revolves around the production of fantasy and its failure, using portraiture to document performance in a non- documentarian way. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Aperture Foundation, Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, and Tbilisi Photography and Multimedia Museum. She has participated in various festivals such as Landskrona Foto, Fotofestiwal Lodz, and Fotofestival Lenzburg, where she received the Gewinner Jury Award. Her work has been published in print and online magazines such as Vogue Italia, Musée Magazine, Der Greif, and Bird in Flight. Shelli is currently based in Brooklyn, surrounded by purple heart plants and desert rose succulents. She is five feet tall.
Above: Me and Madeline, 2018, 4x5 self-portrait, "The two of us are dressed up as Taylor Swift’s doppelgängers. Madeline would one day like to achieve the same feminine beauty as her favorite pop star. "
Fabulations intimately looks into the mobilization of persona through transaction and play, using portraiture to document the nuances of female intervention unto domestic space. Borrowing freely from the visual languages of drag and cinematography, these photographs humanely question collective assumptions on gendered performance and the fixity of identity. As a result, the images re-contextualize the incongruity between self and physicality by focusing on the private experience of one’s body versus the public, tragicomic reality of inhabiting it.
Attentive to the cumbersome body and the myriad of social roles it performs, this work centralizes the interaction between fantasy and display such that the parameter of fantasy shifts towards the desire to be noticed. As a result, the series participates in autobiography-fiction, presenting a subjective world of chance encounters through the singularity of solitary experience.
(text by Shelli Weiler)
Above: Priest Closet, 2018, inkjet print, "A waiter and a hostess from a nearby inn join me to break into the sacristy of St. Sebastian Church. Together we try on the precious robes, not-so-discreetly laughing and playing until footsteps approach. "
Vincent Bunnies, 2018, inkjet print, "The central male rabbit attempts to breed with the females that surround him. "
Above: Bodybuilder, 2018, inkjet print, "A bodybuilder in the very opposite of a man cave. "
Below: Drawing Self-Portrait, 2018, inkjet print, "For my final undergraduate drawing assignment, I was required to make a life-size nude self-portrait. At the end of the term, unable to discard a week’s worth of labor, I decided to bring the drawing back to my parent’s house. My father stumbled upon it months later, and decided to get it framed despite my brother’s protests. My double now stands neglected in the corner each time I return home. "
Dangling Legs, 2017, inkjet print, "A man sits in the makeshift swing he built for his grandson, while his partner steadies his legs steady for me."
Counterpunch, 2017, inkjet print, "A woman injures her knee in a tennis match. "
Below: Graeme and Tom, 2017, "A masked couple preparing to play. "
Strawberry Pit, 2017, "My ex-boyfriend took me to Tokyo, and we later broke up in the hotel. After sadly but defiantly storming out of the room, I met an Australian man looking for company. We walked to Harajuku, played with small kittens, and jumped into this strawberry ball pit together. After that day, I never saw or spoke to him again. "
Tanning Lady, 2018, "I took a walk down Liberty Street on Independence Day in 102-degree weather. This woman is lying outside because her air-conditioning broke. I snap a few photos and run back to my dorm to get more film. By the time I return paramedics are carrying her into an ambulance. She passed away the following day. "
Meat Market, 2017, "Magenta meat market with draping carcasses in Lisbon. "
Tyree Couch, 2017, "Tyree picking up a couch to showcase his strength for a Tinder Picture."