Mary Lou Zelazny was born in Chicago. She moved to California for college, but completed her study nearer home, receiving a BFA from the School of the Art Institute.
She has made collage paintings for twenty years. Blending spontaneity of collage with the rigor of painting and drawing, she creates multiple meanings in an improvised way. This unpredictable work mothod appeals to her because of the technical challenges it presents. ‘The fusion of photographic images and paint generates tensions within the vocabulary of picture making,’ she explains.
Zelazny sorts her work under separate headings—bodies of work dating back to the early 1980s. Some themes or motifs are recurrent, having been revisited or modified over the course of time, she says, but each period is distinct.