Anna Jóelsdóttir

Statement & Resume

New Book Available

Works on Paper


One way to enter my work is through the drawing.  A simple tool like a pen is usually what activates an idea. With a pen, I can navigate the overflow of information, of calm or erupting emotions, confusion, understandings and misunderstandings. The fragments the pen delivers from the mind´s eye via the hand onto a surface, as lines gather together into a universe of their own. It is an abstract place made of fragmented thoughts. 

When the drawing works itself into a 2D painting, color and brush add more information and expand the universe. Accordion books, canvases, large and small, sticks, translucent drafting film, fabric and large site specific installations reflect restlessness, clarity and confusion. They also address the blurred boundaries between painting, drawing and sculpture. 

I am interested in the inner logic of emotion and how reason or logic contains emotion. The paintings of the "logic series": “flight,” “fury,” “control,” and “exploration,” are examples of work wrestling with these opposites.   My work is generated in a dialogue between not knowing and knowing. When I begin, I do not know where my work will go or end up. The process is terribly frustrating, but also exhilarating when it surprises me.

Education: MFA.  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
M.A.  Applied Research in Education, University of East Anglia, England
B.Ed.  University Teachers College of Iceland
Awards& Grants:
2011 Barbara and Magnús. Á. Árnason Memorial Fund, Iceland
2006 The Icelandic Dept..of Culture. National Artist Fellowship: Travel Grant
2005 Individual Artist Award Nominee, The Richard H. Driehouse Foundation, Chicago.
2004 American Scandinavian Foundation
2003 Myndstef, travel grant
Residency Fellowship, Hafnarborg Art Museum, Iceland
Residency Fellowship SÍM, Union of Icelandic Artist, Reykjavík, Iceland
2002 Honorary Mention, School of the Art Institute Graduation Fellowship
2001 Nippon Steel /USA Residential Award
Teaching Assistantship, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2000 Teaching Assistantship, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Scholarship from the Soroptimists of Europe
Residency Fellowship at Hafnarborg Art Museum, Iceland
Parson Group, Student Award
Nippon Steel /USA Residential Award
1999 Bryan Lathrop Fellowship. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
1984 Foreign & Commonwealth Official Scholarship & Award Scheme
Solo Exhibitions:
2012 flying through the cuckoo's nest: New Paintings & Installation by Anna Jóelsdóttir, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2011 surge, The Clock Tower Gallery, curated by Alana Heiss, New York, NY
2009 priest chews velvet haddock, Installation, Stux Gallery, New York , NY
stone black heart murmur, Installation, Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL

the dandelions are over: New Paintings & Installation by Anna Jóelsdóttir
, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 NEXT Art Fair, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL
2007 2007 LOOPTOPIA, Sticks-Installation/Performance, Macy’s storefront window,
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Invitational, curated by Angelique Williams
2006 heima? / home?, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
heima? / home?
, ASÍ Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland
2005 space/time, New Paintings, Stefan Stux Gallery, New York
2004 SubCity Projects, Chicago, 25 Sticks, an installation of 3D paintings
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. 42şN/ 66şN, Staci Boris, curator
2003 Hafnarborg, Institute of Culture and Fine Arts, Iceland, Flutter/Flökt
SIM Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland
Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago
2000 Hafnarborg, Institute of Culture and Fine Arts, Iceland
Group Exhibitions:

Summer Show, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
Summer: Piping Down The Valleys Wild,
group show, Stux Gallery, New York, NY
Zg 10th Anniversary Show,
 Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


MDW Art Fair, participating artist with Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
Winter Group Show,  Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


MMX, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


Whimsical Impetus, Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland
Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


Infrastructure,  Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
ASI Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland

Quarter Century of Art at Hafnarborg,
Hafnarfjörđur Institute of Culture and Fine Art,
Hafnarfjörđur, Iceland
Group Think
,  Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


Art Miami, Miami, FL
Summer Show ‘07
, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
Small Works, Group Show,
Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL

Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL


Land Escape”, River East Art Center, Chicago curated by Joseph Tabet
Open House Project,  
Evanston, curated by Jodie Jacobi
Summer Show '06,
Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
Six Degrees of Separation,
Stefan Stux Gallery, New York, NY
Art Chicago, International Contemporary Art Fair, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL

2005 Beijing Biennial, Beijing, China, catalog
Zg Gallery Chicago, “
Working Process”

Evanston Art Center, Invisible Worlds, Curated by Shona Macdonald, Evanston, IL
The Living Art Museum, curator: Ransu, Reykjavík, Iceland, Cataloge
2004 Evanston Biennial, Monique Meloche & Dominic Molon, curators
Higher Gallery, Chicago, Touch, Ed Schad, curator
Feltre School, Chicago,
Collegiere/To Collect
2003 Prater Rouse Gallery, Norfolk, Virginia, Tabla Rasa
The Open Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland
Fassbender Gallery, Chicago

Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago, “New Talent”
MFA Graduate Exhibition, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Nippon Steel/ U.S.A. Residential Award Exhibition.

2001 Hotel Show, Embassy Suites, Chicago
Parson Group Award Exhibition, Partners in the Arts Project, Chicago
Nippon Steel/ U.S.A. Residential Award Exhibition. Chicago 
2000 Gerđuberg Center for Arts, Reykjavík, Iceland
Chicago Art Open Student Show
1999 The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Spring exhibition
1995 West Bend Art Museum, West Bend, Wisconsin 
Bibliography & Publications:


Huffington Post, “Piping Down The Valleys Wild”, Explores Innocence in Contemporary World review, 7/30/12

2011, A Surge of Creativity, October 26, 2011


Art Ravel. Art and Culture  “Anna Jóelsdóttir: Near Chaos”
NewCity, Anna Joelsdottir/Zg Gallery, Review by Jeffrey McNary, August 6, 2009


ArtStyle Chicago, web magazine,


"Anna Joelsdottir: Heima Home" by Audry Mast, Flavorpill Chicago, Issue 108, October 10, 2006
"Finding Order in Chaos,"
by Fred Camper, Chicago Reader, September 15, v.35, no. 52, sec. 2
"The Start of New Art," by Joanne Hinkel, Center Stage Chicago, August 28, 2006
"Gallery Beat," Style Chicago, September 1, 2006


LIST #3, - Contemporay Icelandic Art . Web Magazine.
Morgunblađiđ, (Icelandic newspaper)p.39
 NEW YORKER,  Review July 4, p.21
“Morgunblađiđ” (Icelandic newspaper) May 21 , p.63
điđ” (Icelandic newspaper). Review. Feb.21. p. 37
Living Art Museum
Reykjavík, Iceland. Exhibition Catalogue.
Evanston Art Center, catalogue


ART PAPERS.  Review by Michelle Grabner, Nov/Dec issue, p.50
orgunblađiđ.”  Interview. August 13
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Summer Catalogue.


“Morgunblađiđ.”  Review. August, 2003
éttablađiđ” (Icelandic newspaper). August, 2003
New American Painting, The Open Studio Press. No. 47, Staci Boris, curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago


“Back to the Books,” American Artist. January, 2001


Morgunblađiđ.”  Review, March 28, 2000
“Dagblađiđ” (Icelandic newspaper), Review, April 10, 2000


I Have Feelings. Series of photographs and a Teacher’s Guide. National Center for Educational Materials of Iceland.
Gallery Information
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Jóelsdóttir Book
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