“Donnelly’s paintings are imaginary landscapes that try to aggregate emblems of information overload, apocalypse, and what she calls ‘human-generated chaos’ – they depict recognizable things in uncomfortable attitudes of disarray.
[T]hey seem to work as allegories of landscape composed on a larger canvas of cultural detritus, big paintings that try to bring big ideas together on canvas, an exciting and difficult proposition, both chaotic and beautiful; sinuous and ugly; bizarre because they yoke unlike things together in a landscape of unlikeness.”

– from Jared Stanley‘s essay TWO BY LAND

Donnelly in the studio
photo by Liz Magee

Studio: 2120 E. Westmoreland Street
Philadelphia, PA 19133

Email: [email protected]


Nicole Donnelly is a Philadelphia-based painter, hand papermaker, installation artist, curator, and shadow puppet enthusiast. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2009 and her BA from Bennington College. She recently received grants and fellowships to complete residencies at the Vermont Studio Center (2011) and the Women’s Studio Workshop (2010), and was invited in 2013 to exhibit at the University of Nevada Reno for a two person show, “Two by Land”. She enjoys collaborating with artists outside of her medium, notably poet Frank Sherlock, a PEW recipient and Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, for the project “Very Different Animals” (2013). Donnelly’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Germany, and the UK.



2009 MFA in Painting and Drawing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
2002 BA in Visual Arts and Japanese Language, Bennington College, Bennington, VT


2013 Two by Land, Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV
2012 Nicole Donnelly & Andrew Chalfen, Seeds Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2011 Mercury Retrograde, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA
Meridian Axis, Gallery at Kol Ami, Cheltenham, PA
2010 place : memory : here, Warehouse 414, Topeka, KS
2009 Stories of Waterfalls, MFA exhibition, Arts Iowa City, Iowa City, IA
New Paper Works, Byron Burford Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
2008 To Make the Connection, Byron Burford Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
New Drawings, Eve Drewelowe Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
2007 Where the Light Falls, Byron Burford Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Unobstructed Views, Byron Burford Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA


2013 The Art and Soul of Paper, Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich, UK
Surface as Signifier, [email protected], Philadelphia, PA
Summer Exhibition, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
One Brown Shoe, project by Lenka Clayton, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
Ossuary, project by Laurie Beth Clark, University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, TN
Washi and Other Ephemera, Durango Arts Center, Durango, CO
2012 Make It, Break It, Rebuild It, Oxford Mills, Philly Fringe Festival, Philadelphia, PA
7th Annual Juried Exhibition, juried by Kaytie Johnson (Galleries at Moore College), William Way Center, Philadelphia, PA
Art in the Open, Schuylkill River Trail and Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Message + Medium, PhilaMOCA, Philadelphia, PA
Maintaining and Altering Identity, PANDA, New York, NY
BOOKED!, curated by HomeSkooled Gallery at Soapbox Independent Publishing Center, Philadelphia, PA
Paper, Botanical Garden of the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
2011 Leaf and Bound, Burgess Hall Art Gallery, Eureka College, Eureka, IL
Nicole Donnelly and Joseph McGrath, O.U.R. Gallery and Studios, Philadelphia, PA
Process + Product: National Invitational Book & Paper Arts, Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, PA
2010 Paper Road, Chi’ang Art Center, Wonju, South Korea
Duo Tone, dual exhibit with Cameron Blyth, Earth Bread & Brewery, Mount Airy, PA
Passing Notes, HomeSkooled Gallery, Arts on South Street, Philadelphia, PA
PULP: Fact, Fiction & Fantasy, Springfield Art Association, Springfield, IL
Oblique Patience, SCENE Metrospace, East Lansing, MI
After Christmas Slasher Sale & Fundraiser, Public Space ONE, Iowa City, IA
2009 Paper Works!, juried by Winifred A. Lutz, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Asian Persuasion, Salt Art Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Puppets, Stages, Parades & More, Session II of the ICSA Residency, shadow puppet performance of “Anna Pesa: Penumbra,” Burford Gallery, Iowa City, IA
The Great Art Scavenger Hunt, Session I of the ICSA Residency, Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa MFA Show, Studio Arts Galleries, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Asa Nisi Masa, Frontier Logic, Iowa City, IA
2008 Recent Works, Studio Arts Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Your Silver Lining, dual exhibit with printmaker Nicole Pietrantoni, Studio Arts Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Instructions 12, Arts Iowa City, IA
Memorial for Gelsy Verna, Portico Gallery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Jakobsen Conference, Blank Honors Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
2007 AIDS Benefit Auction, Chait Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Art & War, Art Gallery West, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Obscenity on the Wall, Eve Drewlowe Gallery, Iowa City, IA
2006 Works on Paper, Art Gallery West, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
First Annual Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, Philadelphia, PA
A Show of Hands: 15th Annual Art Auction, Moore Art Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Brad Carney and Nicole Donnelly, dual exhibit, North on South, Philadelphia, PA
Double Takes, Double Shots Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
2005 Mural Artists Juried Exhibition, Mural Arts Program, Thomas Eakins House, Philadelphia, PA
A Square Foot, Afif Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2004 Mural Arts Program Big Picture Winter Art Exhibit, Thomas Eakins House, Philadelphia, PA
2003 SWARM Tour, dual exhibit with photographer Alexandra DiezBarroso, Bfly Atelier, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Woman: In the Eye of the Artist, celebrating International Women’s Day, Bfly Atelier, Vancouver, BC, Canada


2012 Very Differnt Animals, 100 original miniature paintings for poet Frank Sherlock’s chapbook, published by Fact-Simile Editions
For Members Only, sculptural set pieces for Stone Depot Dance Lab with Lesya Popil, Mascher Space Co-Op, Philadelphia Fringe Festival; Spiel Uhr at Community Education Center, Phila. PA; WAXworks at Triskelian Arts, Brooklyn, NY.
The Abjector, cover image for poet Marion Bell’s chapbook
Inferno, original masks for choreographer Jillian Harris‘ site specific dance premiered on the Scalo De Pinedo, Rome, Italy; Conwell Theater, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2011 Bodies of Text III, set design for Stone Depot Dance Lab, Clark Park, Philadelphia Fringe Festival
2010-11 goddamned placefulness, collaborative series of paintings and poems with poet Hailey Hidgon
2009-10 Penumbra, collaborative dance and shadow puppet performance with Stone Depot Dance Lab
for RAW Material at Dance New Amsterdam, New York, NY; Spiel Uhr at the CEC Meetinghouse Theater, Philadelphia, PA; and Norristown Dance Festival, Norristown, PA
2008 Removed Landscapes, I-IV, set Design for Stone Depot Dance Lab, John Ryan Theatre, DUMBO Dance Festival, Brooklyn, NY
2012 Make It, Break It, Rebuild It, Co-Curator with Brad Carney, part of Philly Fringe Festival, at Pieri Creations warehouse, Philadelphia, PA
Paper Fortress: Paper as Fiber, Curator, part of FiberPhiladelphia, Pterodactyl Space, Philadelphia, PA
2009 Iowa City Summer Arts Residency, Curator and Organizer, Iowa City, IA
2007 Echoes and the Existential, Curator, Portico Gallery, Iowa City, IA
2010 everythingMUSTgo!, a Capitalist Christmas Spectacular, Connie’s Ric-Rac, Philadelphia, PA
2009 Upward Each First Flower, children’s shadow puppet performance, Treehouse Yoga Studio, Iowa City, IA
The Dust Bowl Ballads, shadow puppet set, design and performances of Woody Guthrie’s album, Arts Iowa City, Iowa City, IA


2011 Vermont Studio Center, Painting
2010 Women’s Studio Workshop, Hand Papermaking
2009 Iowa City Summer Arts Residency, Sessions I & II


2011 Vermont Studio Center Grant
2010 Art in Education Fellowship, Women’s Studio Workshop
2008-09 Mildred Pelzer-Lynch Fellowship
2007-08 School of Art and Art History Scholarship, University of Iowa
2006-08 Graduate Teaching Assistantship Tuition Award, University of Iowa


  • Hand Papermakng Instructor, Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY (March 2010).
  • Silkscreen and T-shirt Design Workshop, Paul Green School of Rock, Philadelphia, PA (Summer 2010).
  • Basic Drawing Instructor, Painting & Drawing Department, School of Art and Art History,
    University of Iowa (Aug. 2007 – present). Supervised by Sue Hettmansperger and Susan White.
  • Visual Art Instructor for Arts Share’s Summer Arts Camp, University of Iowa (June 2007). Supervised by Leslie Finer, children ages 5-12.
  • Area Teaching Assistant, Painting & Drawing Department, School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa (Aug. 2006 – May 2007). Supervised by Susan White for the painting and drawing classes of Ronald Cohen, David Dunlap, Michael Perrone, Margaret Rochelle and Susan White.
  • Assistant Instructor for the Big Picture Program, Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA (Oct. 2004 – Dec. 2005). Supervised by Lisa Murch and taught with Brad Carney, children ages 10-15.


Friends of Dard Hunter


A Year’s Worth of Verse at Poets House, New York Times Arts Beat, by John Williams, 3 July 2013.

Two by Land: Paintings by Nicole Donnelly and Katherine Sandoz, Sheppard Contemporary/University of Nevada, Reno. Essay by Jared Stanley, April 2013.

University of Delaware @ Crane presents ‘Surface as Signifier’, by Chip Schwartz for, 28 Feb. 2013.

Nicole Donnelly and Andrew Chalfen at Seeds Gallery by Chip Schwartz, Dec. 22, 2012.

Local Artists Win Group Show at Center, by Jen Colletta

Art in the Open

“Public Art that’s pure Goldsworthy” by Joe McNulty–

Reviews of PAPER FORTRESS: Paper as Fiber (March 15 – April 22, 2012)

Message & Medium at PhilaMOCA (March 2012)

“Solo Trio,” Philadelphia Inquirer by Victoria Donohoe, 6 May 2011

“Nicole Donnelly: Falling Water,” an interview with Steven Anderson for the Women’s Studio Workshop

“If I Gave Up Concerns about Permanence and Ego,” an interview with Wolf in a Field

“Works made of paper bring fragile technique to a show at City Hall,” Philadelphia Inquirer by Victoria Donohoe, 23 Oct 2009