Fiona Pardington studied photography at the Elam School of Fine Art in Auckland, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Art in 1984. She has won several awards for her photography including the Moet and Chandon fellowship in France (1991) and the Visa Gold Award in 1998.
In the late 1980s Pardington belonged to a loose group of women artists who challenged photography's social documentary aesthetic so prevalent during the previous decade. She created photographic constructions that incorporated photography with other materials in elaborately encrusted frames.
Although there is no single reading of her work the clearest strategy is that of the reversal of viewing relations. This was obvious with her portraits of male nudes taking a revisionist stance in substituting the invention of a female 'gaze' for that of the stereotypical male. A sense of irony cloaks her work.
Pardington's art has been included in several important group exhibitions including Imposing Narratives: Beyond the Documentary in Recent New Zealand Photography, 1989 (City Art Gallery, Wellington), Constructed Intimacies, 1989 and NowSeeHear at City Art Gallery, Wellington, 1990.
Her work is discussed in Pleasures and Dangers: Artists of the '90s by Trish Clark and Wystan Curnow and in catalogues for the above exhibitions.