Jennifer Norback Fine Art is one of the premier galleries located in Chicago’s River North arts district. Founded in 2008, JNFA specializes in representing international artists with a focus on contemporary art that recognizes the long humanist tradition of art, but is also responsive to the contemporary world. JNFA’s artists cover a wide berth of mediums and range from internationally-renowned masters to up-and-coming visionaries. To view a full list of our artists and works available for purchase, please visit our Artists page.
The gallery’s mission is to showcase and unite artists from Chicago and Europe through exhibitions, studies, and seminars both in the Chicago gallery and abroad as part of JNFA International. Through the JNFA International program, JNFA seeks to build an international forum for its artists to display the vast, rich art culture present in Chicago. Past events have included exhibitions in Paris, France; Tuscany, Italy; and Paxos, Greece, as well as a showings at the Beirut Art Fair.
JNFA strives to create a genuine, interactive experience for its visitors. Our gallery emphasizes the notion of interacting with the artwork and to that end we offer one of the most active galleries in terms of event planning, including regular exhibitions, workshops, tours, lectures, musical performances, and more. We are ultimately approachable, never dumbing anything down or compromising on quality, but also remaining very much a gallery for everyone. The role of JNFA is to be a guide through the aspects of art. Everyone is welcome and can sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and join us in exploration.
JNFA is open Wednesdays through Saturdays and by appointment. For gallery hours, directions, and other information, please visit our Contact page.
“Art is only relevant in that it speaks both to our moment in history and to something universal in the human spirit. Like Cage’s 4’33″, the difference between music and silence is context and score. The difference between art and decor is the meditative space and context of the personal experience.”
Born in Chicago, Jennifer Norback grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin; New York City; and Augusta, Georgia.
As a child, the bohemian, artistic world was a constant. Her father lived in an artist studio apartment in Carnegie Hall and as a small girl she would meet opera singers, ballet dancers, and artists around his baby grand piano. It was an exciting world and one that would provide great influence on her life. She
attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she holds a B.A. in Art History and South Asian Studies and a degree in French proficiency from the Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne at the Sorbonne, Paris, France.
After college, Jennifer lived in Boulder, Colorado, where she started her first job in a gallery, shipping antique maps and botanical prints. She would eventually move to Paris, where she worked in a gallery and developed relationships with many of the local artists – something that to this day remains vital to her business. She returned to her birthplace in 1998, where she directed Lydon Fine Art, Hart Gallery, and Rosenthal Fine Art. Throughout this, she maintained relationships with Paris and showed work at Art Chicago under the Galerie Beckel Odille Boicos (Paris).
In 2008, Jennifer opened Jennifer Norback Fine Art, which strives to serve as a bridge between Chicago and European (specifically Parisian) artists. The relationship grew organically from her having lived in both cities and believing Chicago to be one and the same with its sister-city. ”The cities seem to have a mutual respect for one another so my personal affinity for the two cities seemed to echo a larger genuine affection between the larger populations.” Through her work with JNFA, Jennifer has brought Chicago to Paris and Paris to Chicago. She now plans on expanding the gallery’s international reach by opening up to Greece with an artist-in-residence program where artists from Paris or Chicago spend a period of time on the ionian island of Paxos working with the mood, light, and experience of the island to create works which explore the island from their unique perspectives.
Throughout her career, Jennifer has curated a number of institutional exhibits including Stephen McClymont ‘s paintings at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC in 1999; “Portraits from the Mind the Art of William Utermohlen” at Chicago Cultural Center; and “Paris – Chicago: The Photography of Jean-Christophe Ballot for the Loyola University Museum of Art in 2009. She has also developed collaborations with Myriad Pharmaceuticals and the National Alzheimer’s Association and organized, curated, and developed funding partnerships with French Consulate, City of Paris, Alliance Française, and City of Chicago – Sister Cities.
Believing that quality and content are not confined to any group of artists or time, Jennifer cites no real favorite artist or era, stating she is interested in thoughtful content and uncompromising quality in all media – from traditional bronzes to experimental sound pieces created by computer algorithms. “A work of art is effective if it can speak at the same time both to our personal unique experience and to something universal in the human experience.”
Cindy Bernhard earned her Master of Fine Arts in Painting at the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California; her Bachelor’s degree in Painting with specialization in Watercolor from the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and has previously studied at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio in Chicago and the Sons of Turner Painting Workshop in Savannah, Georgia. She has served as an instructor for numerous institutions including the Evanston Art Center and American Academy of Art in Chicago, as well as the Laguna College of Art and Design and has received numerous awards and accolades, including Best of Show, Manifest: Rites of Passage Exhibition (2011); Best of Show President’s Award, American Academy of Fine Art Exhibition (2011); and First Place Illustration Award, American Academy of Art Exhibition (2008 and 2009). Cindy Bernhard has taken part in dozens of exhibitions in throughout California, New York, and Chicago, and was one of the featured artists in JNFA’s special exhibition “Chicago in Paris” at France’s Galerie Boicos.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
A lifelong art enthusiast, Mark Toriski began his collegiate career at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s nationally accredited Animation Department. Three years into his degree program, however, he switched gears to focus on writing, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism with a minor in General Art. After college, he took on the position of Managing Editor with Great Lakes Life Magazine – a start-up regional publication based out of Erie, Pennsylvania. Mark was instrumental in developing the content, look, and style of the new magazine, helping it reach the distinction of becoming one of the fastest-growing publications in the nation with a 2008 launch date. During this time, he received the 2010 Ohio Excellence in Journalism Award for “Best Column/Department.” Additionally, he has written for numerous publications and websites and has done copy-editing and marketing work for several national companies/brands as a freelancer. Mark has lived in Chicago since early 2012 and completed the writing program at the famed Second City Theater Training Center – where he co-wrote the sketch revue show “Breakfast of Runners-Up.” He has once had his knowledge of air conditioner installation come under question in a court of law.