Alison Norlen received a BFA (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba in 1987, and MFA from Yale University in 1989. Alison teaches at the University of Saskatchewan and lives and works in Saskatoon. In 2020 Alison became was inducted as a Fellow into the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC).
Alison Norlen is an artist/scholar internationally renowned for architectonic, symbolic large-scale drawings and complex sculptural installations. She investigates cultural spectacle interrogating the historical and geographical dynamics embodied in place, conceptually contributing to the understanding of the role utopia and fantasy take in shaping real/imagined, mundane/fantastic vernacular landscapes.
Her work has been showcased in 28 solo, 14 international, and more than 55 group exhibitions, throughout North America, China, South Korea, the Netherlands, Mexico and Brazil.
Selected solo exhibitions including eccentricity, Estevan Art Gallery, miari, Line Gallery, North Bay, lēoht, Actual Gallery, Winnipeg, luna, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, armature Arch 2 Gallery, School of Architecture, U of M, Winnipeg, glimmer Kenderdine Gallery, Saskatoon, (travelling), rollercoaster, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, edifice, the Art Gallery of Kitchener-Waterloo, Mirage, Art Gallery of Regina, 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, (travelled) Art Gallery of Windsor, 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, 10 th 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.