Shelagh Cluett was born in Dorset in 1947. She studied at Hornsey School of Art gaining a diploma in art and design in 1968, and continued at Chelsea School of Art and Design, graduating in 1972 with a Higher Diploma in Art.
Remaining in London, in 1978 she took a studio in Wapping. With shows at IKON Gallery in 1979 and then at Nicola Jacobs Gallery and ACME Gallery in 1980, Cluett became established on the British art scene, subsequently showing extensively in the UK and abroad.
By the mid 1980s Cluett’s work was represented in a number of public and private collections and she had become the first woman to hold the position of Principal Lecturer in Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design. She had also begun to travel widely in the Far East and Asia; The research she made into the buildings and artworks that she encountered, informed her own work which in turn became the basis for further exploration.. Her research led to a number of exhibitions including ‘Natural Settings’ at Chelsea Physic Garden, London (1995) and ‘Between the Local and the Global’ at Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury(1998).
Cluett’s work used a range of media but by the late nineties had become firmly grounded in the digital. Her inclusion in the V&A exhibition ‘Digital Responses’ (2002) evidenced her increasing use of the computer as an artist’s tool. She was a founding member of FADE (Fine Art Digital Environment), and she presented work at a number of ‘digital art’ conferences across the globe including ‘Digital Surface’ at the Tate Gallery (2004) and ‘Beyond the Digital’ at EWHA Women’s College, Seoul (2004).
By 2005 Cluett had become Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies at Chelsea. Cluett’s artwork continued to investigate the artistic possibilities of the digital world. She left a project exploring Roman mosaics unfinished when she died in June 2007.