Adjunct Professor, Painting and Drawing (1990). BFA, 1980, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Exhibitions: Museum of Contemporary Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago; Rockford Art Museum; Illinois State University; Bowling Green State University, OH; Herron Gallery, IN; Drawing Center, NY; Galleria Porta, Madeira, Portugal; Art Group, Frankfort, Germany. Collections: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Rockford Art Museum, IL. Awards: NEA Regional Arts Fellowship; Dorland Mountain Colony Residency, CA.

Personal Statement

Art made an early entrance into Mary Lou Zelazny's Chicago childhood thanks to her immigrant grandmother, whose deviously inventive Polish backwoods parsimony was made manifest in the tireless redesign of alley pickings, resale junk, and worn out furniture. This folk nursery apprenticed Zelazny to sculpture, tailoring, jewelry, lamp making, and upholstery, among other domestic experiments. These artistic experiences led her to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where childhood memories of accumulation and decoration met the rigors of formalism, pop culture experimentation, and the masters hanging in the museum. These influences can be grasped in her early mixed media paintings and may be said to have more than a vestigial presence in her current work. The School has a significant place in her career. She has been on its faculty since 1990 and is currently Adjunct Professor in the Department of Painting and Drawing. While valuing her academic associations, she remains principally a studio artist and has a record of consistent production over three decades. Mary Lou has had numerous one-person exhibitions since the 1980's, most recently at the Carl Hammer Gallery in April 2014. She was the subject of a comprehensive retrospective at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries and museums throughout the United States.

A comprehensive 35 year overview is available at:

Her 2014 show can be reviewed at


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.