For the majority of her artistic career, Mary Lou Zelazny has been devoted to the synthesis of painting and collage. The history of her dedication runs deeper still, starting in childhood as she observed her grandmother scrupulously accumulate and reconfigure cast-off objects, pictures, and paper cuttings. Zelazny's subjects are many and shifting: dreamscapes, illusions, myths, figures, tools, vessels, trees, flowers and fabric appear and reappear throughout her works. In some, pictures are flooded with images of things; paint-ensnared photographs testifying to the absurdity of modern life. In others, abstract décalcomanie collage materializes what is typically unseen or inaccessible; energy channels within tree boughs or nerve substrates under skin. After four decades, Zelazny’s techniques - in concert with her subjects - continue to invent and evolve.
Mary Lou Zelazny earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 1980. After a decade of continuous art production and exhibition, Zelazny was recruited to join the faculty of the SAIC as a visiting artist in 1990. She has taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of Painting and Drawing since 1995 and was granted adjunct full professorship in 2005. Throughout her teaching career, Zelazny has taught and lectured both nationally and abroad.
Zelazny’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), the Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst, IL), the Lubeznik Center for the Arts (Michigan City, IN), Institute of Contemporary Art (San José, CA), and the National Museum of Szczecin (Poland). Upcoming exhibitions include Vivarium at Carl Hammer Gallery (March 2018, Chicago, IL) and The New Unnatural at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (February 2019, Chicago, IL).