Picture of Alison Norlen

Alison Norlen B.F.A, M.F.A

Professor, Painting and Drawing

Faculty Member in Art & Art History

Murray Building 290

Research Area(s)

  • Cultural articifice
  • Research of "themed sites"
  • Flux architecture


Selection of Publications (by Year)

  • Norlen, A. "Just My Imagination". Scene Magazine (2012)
  • Norlen, A. "After the Grain Elevator: Re-imaging the Prairie Icon". The Art Gallery of Prince Albert (2012)
  • Rosenwald, Betsy. "An Eye to a Spectacle". Arts and Science Magazine (2012): 6-7.
  • Norlen, A. "Imagineacity: architecture for creativity". Exhibition Brochure, detail of "folly" page 2, Mount Allison University (2012)
  • Drobnick, Jim. "Just My Imagination". MMB Collective and Museum London, Art Lab, University of Western Ontario (2012)
  • Norlen, A. "Mirage". Exhibition Brochure: Art Gallery of Regina, Mackenzie Art Gallery Studio Series Exhibition brochure (2012)
  • Walsh, Meeka. "The Many and the Marvellous, The Winnipeg Alpha Bestiary". Border Crossing Magazine, 97 (2012): 80.
  • Wegman, William, & Walsh, Meeka. "The Winnipeg Alphabestiary, Border Crossings". Border Crossings/Arts Manitoba Publications Inc. (2012): 60-61.
  • Marion, Joanne, McCabe, Shauna & Archer, Kent. "Alison Norlen: Glimmer". Kenderdine/College Galleries, Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing In Publication (2011)
  • Enstice, Wayne & Peters, Melody. "Drawing: Space, Form and Expression". Pearson Publishing (2011)
  • Enright, Robert. "Addicted to Drawing: An Interview with Alison Norlen". Border Crossings Magazine 29/3, 115 (2010): 57-73.
  • Reese, Greg. "Sensory Overload, Spectacle Takes Campus by Surprise". The Sheaf 101, 15 (2009): B 2-3.
  • Gazzola, Bart. "Basic(ally) Beautiful: Drawing May be the Foundation of Art - But Done Well Its Sublime". Planet S 8, 4 (2009)
  • Thomas, Maegan. "Rollercoaster". The Peak (2008)
  • Norlen, A. "Explore: A Journal of Discovery". Creativity and Innovation/Detail of Installation at the National Gallery of Canada, University of Saskatchewan Centennial Edition Winter 2008, Edifice (2008)
  • Norlen, A, Carruthers, Meredith & Wesley, Susannah. "Birdwatching: Landscape and Leisure". Self-Guided Tour Booklet (2007)
  • Norlen, A. "Folio". People's Choice Awards - Mendal Art Gallery Winter 2007 (2007): 15.
  • Norlen, A. "Image of Work". Border Crossing Magazine, 97 (2006): 80.
  • Anderson, Jack. "Just My Imagination". Regina Leader-Post (2005)
  • Goodden, Herman. "Title". London Free Press (2005)
  • Norlen, A. "Just My Imagination". Canadian Art Fall (2004)
  • Norlen, A. "Studio Series". Mackenzie Art Gallery, Exhibition brochure (2004)
  • Norlen, A. "Title". Buzz (2004): 20.
  • Norlen, A. "Calgary's News and Entertainment". Fast Forward Magazine (2003)
  • Million, Jan & Image Arts. "Title". Arts Atlantic, 75 (2003)
  • Enstice, Wayne & Peters, Melody. "Drawing/Space, Form, and Expression". Prentice-Hall 3 (2003): 329-331.
  • Norlen, A. "Event: Exhibition Review". (2003): 6.
  • Lee, Myung-bal, & Ha, Chong-hyun. "MosaiCanada: Sign & Sound, Seoul Museum of Art". Seoul Printing Press Association (2003)
  • Norlen, A. "Title". Prince George This Week (2002)
  • Norlen, A. "Figment". Two Rivers Art Gallery (2002)
  • Norlen, A. "Title". Prince George Free Press (2002)
  • Norlen, A. "Title". Connections Magazine (2002)
  • Robertson, Sheila. "Title". The Star Phoenix (2002): E14.
  • Dahle, Sigrid. "Title". The Winnipeg Free Press (2002)
  • Whitehouse, Wayne Baerwadlt & Boddy, Trevor, Kallio, Natalie. "Float". City Press Ltd. (2002)
  • Norlen, A. "aceartinc". PaperWait, Ace Art Gallery 5, 20 (2002): 49.
  • Norlen, A. "Cover (images front and back)". Grain Magazine 29, 1 (2001)
  • Petly, Sheila. "Little Worlds". Parachute Contemporary Art Magazine April, May, June, 94 (1999): 55-56.
  • Norlen, A. "Canadian Art". 16, 1 (1999)
  • Begamudre, Van, Randolph, Jeanne, & Kiendl. "Little Worlds". Dunlop Art Gallery (1999)
  • Norlen, A. "Fairy Tales / Romance, Inversions". A Publication of Mentoring Artist's for Women's Art (1997): 70-71.
  • Norlen, A. "Title". Canadian Art 13, 2 (1996)
  • Norlen, A. "The Arch in Patriarch". St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre (1996): 3, 19-22.
  • Dahle, Sigrid. "Extreme Fascinations, Alison Norlen's Work -in- Progress". Border Crossings Magazine 14, 1 (1995): 54-59.
  • MacDonald, Jake. "Prairie Fire". A Canadian Magazine of New Writing 12, 4 (1991): 77.

Artistic Works


Selected exhibitions of her large-scale drawings and sculptural installations include "glimmer", "mirage", "ala", "edifice", and "float". She has shown provincially and nationally, including exhibitions in Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Thunder Bay, Burnaby, Kelowna, Prince George, Charolottetown, Nova Scotia, Brandon, Whitehorse, St Johns, Kitchener-Waterloo, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. She has also shown internationally in Brazil, Seoul, Amsterdam, Den Haag and the United Sates.


She has received numerous project and travel grants from the Manitobe Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Canada Council, including the Canada Council International Artists Residency in Trinidad during Carnival in 2003.


Her work has been acqusitioned and exists in the private collections in the united States, in addition to the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Mendel Art Gallery, theArt Gallery of Kitchener-Waterloo, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Manitoba Arts Council Art Bank, and the Canada Council Art Bank.

Teaching & Supervision

Alison Norlen teaches in the areas of painting, drawing and sculpture. She was awarded the College of Arts and Science - Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.


2D/3D Drawing and Sculpture Cultural Spectacle Fantasy Landscape/Architecture Utopias drawing sculpture themed sites

In her own work, Alison is fascinated by cultural artifice and researches "themed" sites such as the West Edmonton mall, Disneyland, Universal studios, Las Vegas, roadside attractions, circus and carnival celebrations. She is both spectator and recorder of these places and events, an appreciative and critical voyeur translating her experiences through personal narrative and visual metaphor. 

Education & Training

BFA (University of Manitoba)

MFA (Yale University)

Awards & Honours

  • Teaching Excellence Award, awarded by College of Arts and Science January 2010-January 2011
  • Lila Acheson Wallace / Reader's Digest Scholarship, awarded by University of Manitoba USA January 1988-January 1989
  • Scholarship, awarded by Yale University USA January 1988-January 1989
  • Scholarship, awarded by Yale University USA January 1987-January 1988
  • Merit Scholarship for Graduate Study, awarded by Manitoba Arts Council USA January 1987-January 1989
  • UmZoo Individual Activity Award, awarded by University of Manitoba January 1986-January 1987
  • Molly Hyman Award for Fine Arts, awarded by University of Manitoba January 1984-January 1985
  • Dean's Honor List, awarded by University of Manitoba January 1983-January 1984
  • Rio Algom Scholarship, awarded by Rio Algom Mining Corporation January 1983-January 1988