Lives and works in Virginia


Nikki Painter is a nationally and internationally exhibiting artist with solo shows at Shockoe Artspace, COOP Gallery, Purdue University's Rueff Gallery, and Twelve21 Gallery in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, in the publication New American Paintings, and at the Daegu Arts Center in South Korea.

Painter has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Maitland Arts and History Museum, the Jentel Foundation, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her work is part of private and public collections including the collection of Capital One in Richmond, Virginia, and the permanent collection of the Katzen Museum in Washington, DC.

Through my mixed media works on paper, I envision a world that is constantly constructed and then broken down. Construction and destruction may happen simultaneously, and sometimes natural forms take over and are the “winners” of the unfolding drama.

My current work focuses on intricately patterned gardens. Each Garden work shows a microcosm of space, and because plants are common in our lives, centering them as subject emphasizes a sense of intimate familiarity. Mood is embodied by color: darker tones evoke a feeling of somber contemplation, while an underlay of brighter color feels optimistic. All patterns are hand drawn, encouraging contemplative viewing while creating a buzzing optical energy.
My visual style is rooted in eighties pop culture, referencing brightly colored cartoons and digital collage techniques that were hallmarks of music videos from that decade. These things shaped my inner bank of imagery, and they are evident in the world I build within my work. I use nonrealistic spatial perspective, intricate patterns, and layers of media to create an intentional sense of intensity, mystery, and controlled chaos.

2018 Shockoe Artspace, Richmond, VA, "Shape Shifting"
2015 Fine Arts Gallery, University of Wisconsin- Marinette, Marinette, WI, "Site Cycle: Moments and Versions"
2015 Rueff Gallery, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, "Site Cycle: Moments and Versions" 
2015 Twelve21 Gallery, Orlando, FL, "Deconstructing Reality" 
2013 Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC, "Neon Planar" 
2012 COOP, Nashville, TN, "Space Spells" 
2011 Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC, "Site/Schema" 
2010 Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA, "Alternating Realities" 
2009 Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC, "Debriscapes" 

2021 Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA, "Made in Virginia"
2021 Dodomu Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, "Heatwave" (virtual)
2021 Gormley Gallery, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, MD, "32nd National Drawing and Print Exhibition"
2021 Shockoe Artspace, Richmond, VA, "The Things We Build"
2020 St. Louis Artists' Guild, Clayton, MO, "New Perspectives in Drawing and Painting" (virtual)
2020 LBIF of the Arts and Sciences, Loveladies, NJ, "Works on Paper 2020: National Juried Exhibition"
2020 Gallery5, Richmond, VA, "Dreams" (virtual)
2020 Broad Strokes Gallery, Richmond, VA, "She Blooms in the Winter"
2019 Shockoe Artspace, Richmond, VA, "CURRENT 2019"
2019 James Oliver Gallery/ HOT•BED Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, "Summer Rush"
2019 McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA, "Strictly Painting 12"
2019 Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY, "Juxtaposition: Contemporary Collage"
2019 Plant Zero Project Space, Richmond, VA, "Environment at Risk"
2019 Crooked Tree Arts Center, Traverse City, MI, "Fresh Cuts: The Art of Papercraft"
2018 Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Richmond, VA, "Young + Artful"
2018 Art File/ Works on Paper, Montclair, NJ, "Inaugural Exhibition"
2018 Charles Taylor Visual Arts Center, Hampton, VA, "Virginia Artists 2018"
2018 Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV, "Exhibition 280"
2018 Hambidge Center, Rabun Gap, GA, "Sign of the Times: Fellows' Invitational Exhibition"
2018 Maitland Arts and History Museum, Maitland, FL, "Women of the Research Studio: Past and Present"
2017 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA, "CURRENT 2017"
2017 Daegu Arts Center, South Korea, "15th International Exchange Exhibition of AOH"
2017 Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA, "Homeward Bound" 
2017 1708 Gallery/ Black Iris, Richmond, VA, "Cabin Fever"
2016 Linden Row Inn/ 1708 Satellite Space, Richmond, VA, "Art Among the Ruins"
2016 Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY, "Funhouse: Art of the Surreal, Fantastic, and Bizarre"
2016 Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA, "EMERGING IV"
2016 Grand Gallery, McNeese University, Lake Charles, LA, "29th Annual McNeese Works on Paper"
2015 The Gallery at NOVA-Woodbridge, Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge, VA, "Material/Method:    
         Contemporary Practices in Painting"
2015 FAB Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, "Space Jam"
2015 Sediment, Richmond, VA, "The Soul and the Pawn Shop"
2015 Artisphere, Arlington, VA, "Washington Project for the Arts' SELECT: 2015"
2014 Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA, "LineWorks: Drawing Redefined" 
2014 Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Alfred University, Alfred, NY, "Ecstatically Quiet"
2014 Gallery5, Richmond, VA, "Rhythm: Fall Line Fest Juried Exhibition"
2014 E.M.P. Collective, Baltimore, MD, "We're All Strangers Here"
2014 Project 4, Washington, DC, "Centerfold Artist"
2014 Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA, "CSA: 40 Years of Community-Sourced Art"
2013 Volume, Bethlehem, PA, "Volume Recap Show"
2013 Alter Space, San Francisco, CA, "Practicing to Pretend"
2013 Delicious Spectacle, Washington, DC, "Unfettered"
2013 Volume, online exhibition, "Building Black"
2012 McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA, "Edges and Grids"
2012 Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, Maryland, "The Sum of the Parts"
2011 Scope Miami/ Civilian Art Projects, Miami, FL
2011 Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA, "Episodic Narrative"
2011 Artspace, Richmond, VA, "Radius 250"
2010 Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC, "RE-VISION: American University Alumni"
2010 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA, "Monster Drawing Rally"
2010 Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA, "New Waves 2010"
2009 Scope Miami/ Civilian Art Projects, Miami, FL
2009 Artspace, Richmond, VA, "Think Small 5: Biennial Miniature Art Invitational"
2009 Transformer/X-Initiative, New York, NY, "No Soul For Sale"
2009 New American Paintings, The Open Studios Press, Boston, MA, Mid-Atlantic States #81
2009 Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC, "RESULTS"
2008 Randall Scott Gallery, Washington, DC, “Quasi-Painting”
2008 F.U.E.L. Collection, Philadelphia, PA, “Grand Small Works”
2008 Transformer and Heineman Myers, Washington, DC, “Paper Trail”
2008 Civilian Art Projects, Washington, DC, “Quart Bag”
2008 Paperwork Gallery, Baltimore, MD, “Paper Airplane”
2008 Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC, "NINE"
2006 Gallery5, Richmond, VA, “Urban Scrawl”

Purchase Prize, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, MD

2020 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Visual Artist Relief Fellowship, Richmond, VA
2020 WINDOWS by Golden Triangle BID, Washington, DC
2017 Artist Residency at Maitland Arts & History Museum, Maitland, FL
2016 Artist Residency at Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, Rabun Gap, GA 
2015 Adjunct Research Assistance Grant, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
2014 Artist Residency at Jentel Foundation, Banner, WY
2010 First Runner Up in New Waves 2010, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA
2009 Best In Show, Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA
2009 Mellon Research Grant, American University, Washington, DC
2009 Wolpoff Purchase Award, American University, Washington, DC
2006 Artist Residency at Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, MD
Capital One Corporate Art Collection, Richmond, VA
Katzen Museum, American University, Washington, DC

VEER Magazine, Jeff Maisey, "Outstanding Winter Exhibitions at VA MOCA," December 15, 2021.
Commonwealth Times, Aaron Royce, "'She Blooms in Winter' plants garden-worthy art in The Broad Gallery," February
      4, 2020.
The Hi-lo, Virginia Broersma, "Survival of the Artist: We are each other's Human Resources," January 6, 2020.
Shockoe Artspeak, Ryan Lauterio and Garreth Blackwell, "
Shape Shifting: a Talk with Nikki Painter," iTunes, February 6, 
Orlando Weekly, Richard Reep and Jessica Bryce Young, "
Orlando's 2018 exhibitions snapped our eyes wide open," 
      December 26, 2018.
Orlando Weekly, Richard Reep, "
At the Maitland Art Center, the future is female- and so is the past," January 17,   
Just Add Watercolor: Inspiration and Painting Techniques from Contemporary Artists, Helen Birch,
      Chronicle Books, 2015.
East City Arts, Eric Hope, “
East City Art Reviews: WPA SELECT at Artisphere,” February, 2015.
Washington Post, Mark Jenkins, “In the Galleries: At Greater Reston Arts Center, no straight lines,” December
      26, 2014.
Trop Mag/ Centerfold Artist, Annette Isham and Zac Willis,
"Ms. December, Nikki Painter," December 18, 2013.
Washington City Paper, Louis Jacobson, “Neon Planar and Offerings at Civilian Art Projects: Two DC artists
      find occasional beauty in decay,” September 2013.
Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art, Helen Birch, Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco,
      CA, 2013.  
San Francisco Arts Quarterly Online, Matthew Marchand, “Practicing to Pretend at Alter Space, San
      Francisco, Part 2 of 2,” August, 2013.
Washington Post, Mark Jenkins, “Journeys to the Intersection of Mind and Matter,” January 31, 2013.
Washington Post, Michael O’Sullivan, “Going Out Guide Art Review: The Sum of the Parts,” March 8, 2012.
Volume, “
Nikki Painter (interview),” September, 2011.
Washington Post, Mark Jenkins, “Land artists’ works on paper show larger site-specific endeavors,” October 6,
New American Paintings, Mid-Atlantic States Competition #81, The Open Studios Press, Boston, MA, April
BMORE ART, “Quasi-Painting at Randall Scott Gallery,” December 2008.

2009 - 2007 MFA in Studio Art, American University, Washington, DC

2002 - 1998 BFA in Painting and Printmaking, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA