Vivarium runs through May 5 at Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 N Wells Street, Chicago. For more information, visit http://www.carlhammergallery.com/artists/mary-lou-zelazny
Currently at Carl Hammer Gallery, Vivarium is Mary Lou Zelazny’s immersive exploration of surreal plantlife. Zelazny combines painting and collage in striking, dreamlike images of technicolor trees and zebra-striped bouquets. At first glance, what seems to be merely exuberant plein air studies and still-lives, are revealed upon closer examination to be surreal and mysterious reconfigurations. Zelazny reimagines flora, creating new and unusual botanical studies collaged from monoprints. Her vibrant, almost hallucinogenic, multi-colored trees and flowers have leopard- and zebra-print leaves and pin-striped stems, while pop-culture images may be camouflaged within the leaves. Simultaneously familiar and uncanny, her work is a voyage into both the seen and the imagined.