Photo Credit: Robbin Stratton-Upson

 

 

 

Dena Tollefson is an American artist whose bold contemporary  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  painting style. She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her husband and family.

Tollefson is represented in galleries nationally in New Mexico, California, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.

 

Her "Daubism" body of work is a unique process she developed, where "daubs" of individually mixed  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.


 

 

Museum, Corporate & Selected Private Collections

 

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Farm Credit Services Omaha, NE
Terso Solutions Corporation Madison, WI

Iowa Department of Human Services, Cedar Rapids, IA
Genesis Hospital,  Davenport, IA
Monsanto Corporation St Louis, MO
Ronald McDonald Facility/Unity Point Health Cedar Rapids, IA
Ruberry, Stalmack and Garvey Law Firm Chicago, IL
Marion Arts Council Marion, IA

Mercy Hospital Cedar Rapids, IA
PCI Cardiologists Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

St Luke’s Hospice Cedar Rapids, IA

StarcomMediaVest CEO, Chicago, IL

St Luke’s hospital, Cedar Rapids, IA.

United Fire and Casualty Owner, Cedar Rapids, IA

Mableton Bank, Mabelton, GA

Lil’ Drug Stores CEO, Scottsdale, AZ


Two of Dena Tollefson's  paintings are in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.   Her work hangs publicly and in private collections  throughout the world. 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 40 gallery group shows. 

Signature: Dena Tollefson's work is signed either D Tollefson or DENA, titles on reverse.



Curriculum Vitae for Dena Tollefson

 

 

 

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

     
 

2018 “Art You EnJoy” Annual Winter Exhibition, group exhibit, Adelman Fine Art, San Diego, CA

2018 "Springtime Divine: Impressionist Paintings by Dena Tollefson",  solo exhibit, Canyon Road Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM
2017-2018  “Beyond the Prairie: Midwestern Art From the Collection”,  Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA Curated by Associate Curator Kate Kunau
2018  "Love Connections" group exhibit, Artist's Showplace Gallery Dallas, TX

2018 “Fall Gallery Walk” group exhibit, Milward Farrell Fine Art, Madison, WI

2018 “Christmas Show” group exhibit, Canyon Road Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM

2017 “Postivity: Kari Rives + Dena Tollefson Expressive Sculpure + Exuberant Paintings”, 2 person exhibit, Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, New Mexico

2017 “Cornography: Corn Portraits from Biblical Times to Present”, solo exhibit, Luther College Decorah, IA

      2016 “Beyond the Prairie: Midwestern Art From the Collection”,  Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA    Curated by Associate Curator Kate Kunau

      2016 Holiday Show Featuring Glass Artist Lydia Piper and Painter Dena Tollefson, Canyon Road Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM

      2016 Spring Art Paintout and Gallery Artist Group Exhibition Canyon Road Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM   

      2016 Dena Tollefson 2016 Paintings Solo Exhibit Nuance Galleries, Tampa, FL
      2016 Contemporary Artists in the Spotlight, May Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
      2016 Color & Light: Painters Ryan & Tollefson's Approach to the Landscape, Gallery CM, Dubuque, IA
2016 (ongoing)“Beyond the Prairie: Midwestern Art From the Collection”,  Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA        Curated by Associate Curator Kate Kunau

      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, IL
      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

 

 

Museum, Corporate & Selected Private Collections

 

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Iowa Department of Human Services, Cedar Rapids, IA
Terso Solutions Corporation Madison, WI
Farm Credit Services Omaha, NE

Marion Arts Council  Marion, IA
Monsanto Corporation St Louis, MO 
Ronald McDonald Facility/Unity Point Health Cedar Rapids, IA
Ruberry, Stalmack, and Garvey Law Firm Chicago, IL

Mercy Hospital Cedar Rapids, IA

St Luke’s Hospice Cedar Rapids, IA

StarcomMediaVest  CEO, Chicago, IL
PCI Cardiologists, Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA

St Luke’s hospital, Cedar Rapids, IA. 

United Fire and Casualty Owner, Cedar Rapids, IA

Mableton Bank, Mabelton, GA

Lil’ Drug Stores CEO, Scottsdale, AZ

 

 

 

Current Gallery Representation

 

Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, NM
Adelman Fine Art San Diego, CA
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

2018   Plein  Air Painting Demonstration at Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, NM
2017   Plein Air Painting Demonstration at Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, NM
2016 Plein Air Painting Demonstration at Canyon Road Contemporary Santa Fe, NM
2016 Painting Demonstration at Nuance Galleries, St Petersburg, FL
2016 Painting Demonstation Cedar Rapids Museum of Art sponsored by Marvin Cone Art Club
2016 Artist's Talk/Gallery Talk at Gallery C Dubuque, IA

      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

2018   "Springtime Divine: Impressionist Paintings by Dena Tollefson", LVS Editorial staff, Santa Fean Magazine Art Issue Cover Page  April/May 2018   page 38

2018 “The Daubism of Dena Tollefson”, George Takei Presents 3 minute movie on popular Facebook Channel (over 550,000 views) Nov 11, 2018

2017  "Cornography: Corn Portraits from Biblical Times to  Present "  Julie Shockey Trytten, Luther Headlines, 23 Jan 2017  

2017 “Positivity”,  LVS Editorial staff, Santa Fean Magazine Art Issue June/July 2017 volume 45 number 3 page 73

2016 "Santa Fe Openings", Albuquerque Journal, 1 May 2016 page 11
2016"Gallery and Museum Events", Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, Feb 2016 page 133
2016 News Feature article, Tollefson and Ryan, Telegraph Herald, July 28, 2016
2016  Art in America,  Guide to Galleries, Museums, Artists 2016
2016 "Color and Light: Painters Ryan and Tollefson Approach Landscape" 365Ink, issue #270 p 16
2016  "Rolling Out Regional Artistry", Diana Nollen, Gazette Hoopla, Dec 21, 2016
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