Altogether Mutable: The Work of Mary Lou Zelazny

For nearly thirty years, mixed-media artist Mary Lou Zelazny has consistently woven narrative, humor and sexuality into the painted image through the seamless use of collage and realism. This exhibition presented a comprehensive selection of this important Chicago artist’s oeuvre to date featuring over 70 collaged paintings and paint studies made between 1980 and 2008. Curated by Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions at Hyde Park Art Cetner, Altogether Mutable was the first retrospective dedicated to the work of Mary Lou Zelazny. Instructed by artists including Ray Yoshida and Karl Wirsum and shown early in her career at the momentous Phyllis Kind Gallery, painter Mary Lou Zelazny is often grouped with the Chicago Imagists. This exhibition aims to expand such perceptions by revealing a trajectory of technical styles and socially-conscious subjects that have pushed Zelazny to go beyond the Imagist tradition and forge a path in the canon of painting. Her works pose questions and make pointed observations concerning the complexity of human relationships and the socialized – even commercialized – roles we play in those relationships. According to Zelazny, “Collage never completes the story; instead it leaves openings for multiple interpretations.”

  • February 1, 2009 – April 12, 2009
  • Gallery 1 & Cleve E. Carney Gallery

Altogether Mutable: Mary Lou Zelazny

About Mary Lou Zelazny

Mary Lou Zelazny is known for blending the skilled rigors of painting and the spontaneity of collage to create multiple meanings that unravel before our eyes and drive the content of her work. She studied painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts and the School of the Art Institution of Chicago, where she has been Adjunct Professor since 1990. She has also been a visiting artist at various colleges and universities including Maine College of Art, Williams College, University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Collected by the Rockford Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the McCormick Place West Public Art Collection and other corporate and private collectors, her work has received many solo and group exhibitions in Chicago and the Midwest. Zelazny is currently represented by Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago.



A color catalog featuring reproductions of all of the exhibited works and essays by Allison Peters Quinn and a short story by author John Haskell is available at the Art Center. The catalog for Altogether Mutable is made possible by support from a special assistance grant from the Illinois Arts Council Michael and Sandra Perlow, Paul and Amy Carbone, Larry and Laura Gerber, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Grossman, Carl Hammer, and friends of the artist.

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