Dena Tollefson

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Biography:

Dena Tollefson is an American artist whose bold contemporary oil paintings focus on joyful use of color, texture and movement.
 

Dena Tollefson (nee Dena Schaefer), born 1965, is a full-time, professional artist. Tollefson graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 and lived in Dallas Texas before returning to Iowa in 1991 where she developed her unique, highly textured oil painting style. She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her husband and family.

Her "Daubism" body of work is a unique process she developed, where "daubs" of individually mixed oil paint are applied with a palette knife. The largest daubs are applied with a serving spoon, allowing ridges of paint which catch the light and appear to dance and scintillate as the viewer moves past the painting. Tollefson’s work focuses on botanicals, ponds, skies, and her Corn Series of work, biographies where people are depicted as ears of corn. Her work is highly tactile.

Two of Dena Tollefson's paintings are in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.  Tollefson completed a set of 4 commissioned paintings for the CEO of Starcom MediaVest in downtown Chicago. Her work hangs publicly and in private collections throughout the US.  She has exhibited in juried shows in Texas, New York, California and Georgia and has won awards at the national and local level, as addition to participating in 21 gallery group shows.  She is a member of Allied Artists of America and the Oil Painters of America.

Résumé:

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

2016 Contemporary Artists in the Spotlight, May Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

2016 Dena Tollefson 2016 Paintings Solo Exhibit Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL

2015 Tollefson Solo Exhibit, CornerHouse Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA   

2015 Regional Juried Exhibit, Freport Art Museum, Freeport, IL

2015 Small Works Show Chait Galleries Downtown, Iowa City, IA

2015 Fall Gallery Show, Milward Farrell Fine Art, Madison, WI

2015 Dena Tollefson Solo Exhibit, Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL

2014 Dena Tollefson and Peter Pettegrew 2 Person Exhibit, Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL

2014 Mary Zeran & Dena Tollefson 2 Person Exhibit, Simpson College, Indianola, IA   

2014 Dena Tollefson and James Henry Walker 2 Person Exhibit, Galesburg Civic Art Center, IL

2014 Good Enough to Eat Juried Exhibition at Quad City Arts Rock Island, IA

2013 Featuring the Art of Dena Tollefson, May Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

2013 Preview Exhibit, Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL

2013 An Occasion for Art Starring Midwest Artists, CornerHouse Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA

2013 Spring Gallery Show, Milward Farrell Fine Art, Madison, WI

2013 Small Works Show Chait Galleries Downtown. Iowa City, IA

2012 Collecting the Corridor, CR Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA Sean Ulmer, Curator

2012 Still Life Show, CornerHouse Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA

2012 Group Show, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA

2012 Small Works Show Chait Galleries Downtown. Iowa City, IA

2012 Dena Tollefson New Work, Solo Exhibit, Mary Greeley Hospital, Ames, IA

2012 Zeran and Tollefson 2 Person Exhibit, Lowe Center for the Arts, Marion, IA

2012 3 Person Exhibit: Art at the Airport Gallery, Quad Cities International Airport, Moline, IL

2011 Greta Songe, Lee Kimball, Dena Tollefson, CornerHouse Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2011 Zeran and Tollefson 2 Person Exhibit, Maquoketa Art Experience, Maquoketa, IA

2011 Fresh Paint 2011 Plein Air Paintings, Catiri’s Art Gallery Amana, IA

2011 Corn County, Solo Exhibit, Carl and Mary Koehler History Center Cedar Rapids, IA

2011 Drips and Daubs 2 Person Exhibit, Burlington Art Guild, Burlington, IA 

2011 3rd Annual Small Works Show,  Chait Galleries Downtown  Iowa City, IA  

2011 Spring Gallery Show Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA

2010 Energy, Light and Color 3 Person Exhibit, Lowe Center for the Arts, Marion IA

2010 Spring Gallery Show, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2010 Dena Tollefson Abstractions, Solo Exhibit, University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, IA

2010 2nd Annual Small Works Show, Chait Galleries Downtown  Iowa City, IA  

2010 Tollefson’s Daubism, Solo Exhibit, Catiri’s Art Gallery Amana, IA

2009 Fresh Paintings Smith, Wegman, Tollefson,Chait Galleries Downtown  Iowa City, IA

2009 Spring Gallery Show, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2009 Small Works Show, Chait Galleries Downtown  Iowa City, IA  

2008 New Work, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2007 New Work, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2006 New Work, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2005 New Work, Wiederspan Gallery, Cedar Rapids IA

2004 South Cobb Arts 17th National Juried Art Exhibition, Mableton, GA Juror: Gregor Turk

2002 Breckenridge Fine Arts Center 11th Annual Juried Show  Breckenridge, TX. Juror: Ross

         Merrill, National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C. Chief of Conservation.

2002 Mother Lode International 36th Annual 2002 Juried Art Contest,  Placerville, CA. Juror:

         Martha Saudek.

2002 Impact Artist's Gallery Fall 2002 National Exhibition Juried Show, Buffalo, NY

         Juror: Nina Freudenheim

2002 Arts 2002 National Juried Art Exhibition Rockwall, TX Juror: Charles Wylie, Curator

         Contemporary Art at Dallas Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

Current Gallery Representation

 

Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, NM
Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL
May Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

Milward Farrell Fine Art Madison, WI
CornerHouse Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA

Quad City Arts, Rock Island, IL
 

 

 

Honors and Awards

 

2015 Juror for Marion Arts Festival, Marion, IA
2011 Plein Air Award, Fresh Paint Plein Air, Catiri’s Gallery Amana, IA

2011 Juror for Marion Arts Festival, Marion, IA

2005 1st Place, CCofC Art Exhibit Cedar Rapids, IA

2004 Purchase Award, South Cobb Arts 17th National Juried Art Exhibition, Mableton, GA

 

 

Speaking Events, Demonstrations and Workshops

2016 Painting Demonstration at Nuance Galleries, St Petersburg, FL
2016 Painting Demonstation Cedar Rapids Museum of Art sponsored by Marvin Cone Art Club

      2014 Painting Demonstration at Nuance Galleries, St Petersburg, FL sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times 
      2012 Radio Interview, “Art Talks!” public radio 90.3FM Augustana College Airing June 1, 2012,

         Podcast available online http://www.wvik.org/listings-  arttalks.htm  Rock Island, IL

2012 Art Bites: Dena Tollefson Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA

2011 Guest Speaker, Creative Artists, Cedar Rapids, IA

2011 Art In Action Painting Demonstration, Catiri's Art Oasis Gallery, Amana, IA

2010 Certified Grumbacher Workshop Instructor, Representing Grumbacher Paints and brushes

2010 A Conversation with Artist Dena Tollefson, Guest Speaker, Carl and Mary Koehler History

         Center, Cedar Rapids, IA

2010 Painting Demonstration and Art Talk Lowe Center for the Arts, Marion, IA

2010 Collector’s Circle Demonstration for Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Collector’s Circle

         Hosted by Sean Ulmer, CR Museum of Art Curator

2010 Art In Action Painting Demonstration, Catiri's Art Oasis Gallery, Amana, IA

 

 

 

Selected Bibliography

2016 "Gallery and Museum Events", Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, Feb 2016 page 133
2015 “Live Painting Exhibition: Dena Tollefson” TampaBay Times, Feb 19, 2015
2015  Marquis Who's Who in America, 70th Edition, Sept 2015
2015 Art in America Guide to Galleries, Museums, Artists 2015

2015“Culture Crawl” Jazz 88.3FM  KCCK March 3, 2015
2014 "Dena Tollefson and Peter Pettegrew", Tampa Bay Times, Jan 28, 2014
2014  May Gallery Scottsdale Arizona Annual Catalog 2014 p 12
2013  "Gallery and Museum Events", Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine, Judy Harper, Oct 2013 p 158
2013  Art in America,  Guide to Galleries, Museums, Artists 2013

2012  Art in America,  Guide to Galleries, Museums, Artists 2012

2012 “Fresh Paint 2012”, Melinda Wichmann, The Pioneer- Republican, July 26, 2012

2012  “Marion Arts Council”, Sally Danaher Welsch, City Revealed Magazine Aug 2012

2012 “Lure of the Local: CR Museum of Art to Showcase Recent Works by Area Artists”

          Diana Nollen, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier Jan 29, 2012

2011 “Artist Duo at Gallery”, The Telegraph Herald, Sept 2011

2011 “Amana Colony News: Plein Air Painting”, Melinda Wichmann, The Pioneer-   

          Republican, Sept 15 2011

2011 “Art Guild Having a Busy Summer”, Bobby Wilson, The Hawkeye July 24 2011

2011  Amana Colonies 2011 Visitor’s Guide, Amana, IA

2011 “C. R. Artist to Give Painting Demonstration” Diana Nollen, Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 15

2010 “Out and About” Darren Tromblay Urbandale Living Magazine, Dec 2010

2010 “Corn is King” Angela Holmes, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sept 4 2010

2009 “Chait Galleries Features Three Women” Nick Fetty, The Daily Iowan, Feb11 2009

2002 “Enter the Dragon” Breckenridge Fine Arts Center Exhibit Catalog, p12

 

 

Education and Background

 

Born December 23, 1965

Bachelor's degree from Iowa State University 1988

Graduate classes University of Iowa 1994

 

 

Professional Memberships

 

Allied Artists of America, Associate Member

Oil Painters of America, Associate Member

 

 

Statement:

"I am a Colorist and am known for contemporary realism focusing on botanicals and landscapes, especially ponds and portraits in corn.

I employ vigorous brushwork and texture through the palette knife in my work so that people may experience along with me the "feel" of the painting. I find mosaics facinating how the individual pieces all contribute to the whole- I want my paintings to have a similar idea where overlapping petals of paint all stand on their own and then contribute to the total.

My work known as "Daubism" is created using a palette knife where each stroke of color is isolated from the others. Most paintings will have hundreds of different colors, these colors are all individually hand-mixed from a limited set of colors creating unique colors which relate to one another. I am striving for a sensual, tactile surface in paint."

"I am always excited when someone connects with my artwork- I am delighted to share a vision of color and beauty with my collectors"- Dena Tollefson