Audrey Niffenegger: Depth and Whimsy

Opening June 21 at NMWA, Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger reveals the artist’s range. In addition to her bestselling novels, Niffenegger is a visual artist who paints, draws, and creates book art, lithographs, and prints.

Audrey Niffenegger, Life Under Ground, 2004; Colored pencil and graphite on paper, 8 x 12 in.; Collection of Mary Jean Thomson, Riverwoods, Illinois

Audrey Niffenegger, Life Under Ground, 2004; Colored pencil and graphite on paper, 8 x 12 in.; Collection of Mary Jean Thomson, Riverwoods, Illinois

The exhibition has already received attention from the media. In a Huffington Post article, her influences and dreamlike style were showcased: “Channeling Edvard Munch here and Gustav Klimt there, the works reveal a wide variety of surreal styles that never shy away from the absurd or nonsensical.”

Artwork from Niffenegger's artist's book The Adventuress is installed at NMWA

Artwork from Niffenegger’s artist’s book The Adventuress is installed at NMWA

Installation of the works is underway—the more than 200 pieces of Niffenegger’s art in this midcareer retrospective reveal her talent for narrative. Her book artwork often follows tragic, courageous heroines as they encounter dark, dreamlike, yet whimsical situations. In her self-portraiture, the artist presents herself in guises and characters that seem to tell their own compelling stories.

Artist-designed cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Artist-designed cover of The Time Traveler’s Wife

In addition to this work, the exhibition features a trove of absorbing works, such as a stream of red hair across a book cover (representing the redheaded protagonist) that she designed for an edition of The Time Traveler’s Wife, and a suite of etchings featuring skeletons and deathly figures that she created for a portfolio, Vanitas, inspired by poetry.

Niffenegger says, “We should look carefully at ourselves and things around us, and not be oblivious to life as it passes us by. I use fantastic elements in my art to startle people into noticing and paying attention.”

Awake in the Dream World will be on view June 21–November 10 at NMWA.

One thought on “Audrey Niffenegger: Depth and Whimsy

  1. I can’t wait to see this exhibition! I did not know of this artist, and she is really interesting. Very talented!

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