Carlson draws from her Anishinaabe (specifically, Ojibwe) and Scandinavian heritage as a basis for her highly stylized work. She was influenced by Ojibwe artist George Morrison. Her paintings frequently incorporate text and depictions of art and decorative objects. As Carlson describes in her artist statement, these objects are "displayed hovering like holy icons, floating and centered on the page...over the seashore like a carrot, the shore rises up, itself fluid, all-consuming and assimilating as the earth takes back and buries its histories. Waterways are historically a conduit of trade, interaction, and conflict and are cited in the work for their role in aiding the fluidity and continual change of culture."
Interested in the ongoing processes of assimilation and cultural appropriation, Carlson employs cannibalism as a metaphor for cultural consumption in her paintings' titles and imagery. Carlson named her "Windigo" series for an Anishinaabe winter cannibal that often misidentifies those it consumes.
Carlson also explores the role of the museum in the representation and interpretation of cultural objects. As Carlson explains, "By citing pieces from the museum's collection in my artwork, I appropriate those objects by drawing them into imagined landscapes. The museum is a landscape in its own right, fostering and assimilating objects foreign to itself."
- "Artists: Andrea Carlson". Bockley Gallery. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Mikinaak.com". mikinaak.com. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Culture Cop: Works by Andrea Carlson". Soo Visual Arts Center. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- Rushing, W. Jackson; Makholm, Kristin (2013). Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison (First ed.). University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 61, 171. ISBN 0-8061-5063-7.
- "New Skins: New Paintings by Andrea Carlson and Jim Denomie". Minneapolis Institute of Art. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Stale Session". zetcom.ch. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "British Museum - Prime Cut". British Museum. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Andrea Carlson". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 25 October 2015.