Alison Norlen -- mirari

September 19, 2015 to October 30, 2015



Exhibition Statement

My work is autobiographical, recording sensory experience, incorporating storytelling/personal narration, utilizing a documentary approach, culminating in a visual diary. It is derivative of observations, recollections and interpretations of experience, travel and theoretical cultural research.

My research involves obsessively collecting, visually/mentally documenting, and finally, building sketches, drawings, and sculptures. My recent drawings and sculptures continue my long and passionate interest in cultural spectacles, idyllic environments, and real existing/imagined and diminished architectures and landscapes. These objects are intended as references/tributes to pleasure/wonder palaces, expositions/world's fair remnants, follies and buildings in various and/or ambiguous states of construction/demolition. Some represent visions of the future, prosperity, and growth, others (un)realised utopian constructions, or abandoned decayed dilapidated and forgotten structures stripped of purpose and relevancy, acquiring and losing (yet often retaining) iconic significance.

This work intends to represent aspects of utopia, fantasy, memory, personal narration, melancholy and metaphor.


Artist Biography

Alison Norlen received a BFA (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba in 1987, and MFA from Yale University in 1989.

Selected solo exhibitions include lēoht, Actual Gallery, Winnipeg; luna, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; armature, Arch 2 Gallery, School of Architecture, U of Manitoba, Winnipeg; rollercoaster, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby; edifice, the Art Gallery of Kitchener-Waterloo; ala, Oboro, Montreal; float, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (traveling). Selected group exhibitions include Combine (World Loves Saskatchewan), York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto; Drawn Positions, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Imagineacity: Architectures for Creativity, Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, NB; Ladder Factories and wheat fields, National Gallery of Canada; Intangible Evidence, The Rooms, St Johns, Newfoundland; Just my Imagination, Museum London, Art Gallery of Windsor (travelled); MOCCA, Mendel Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Algoma; and Wonderland, Museum London. International exhibitions include Faux Real, Blank Project, Ann Arbor, MI; MosaiCanada, Sign& Sound, Seoul, Korea; Tekeningen III, Quartair Art Contemporary Art Initiatives Dutch/Canada, Den Haag, Holland; and the LA International Biennial Invitational and Exhibition of America, 10th Annual Biennial in Printmaking, X Mostra Da Gravura, Curitiba, Brazil.

Her work is in private collections in the United States and Canada, public collections of the National Gallery of Canada, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Rooms Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council Art Bank, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Alison has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board, has been the recipient of an International Artist Residency in Trinidad by the Canada Council for the Arts and the International Artist Residency in Paris from the Canada Council.

Alison is teaching at the University of Saskatchewan and lives and works in Saskatoon.