Gallery  March 8, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Mary Lou Zelazny’s Surreal Botanical Studies at Carl Hammer Gallery

Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Blackeyed Tree, 2017. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 40 x 59 inches.

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.

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Eyed Tree #5, 2016
Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Eyed Tree #5, 2016. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 48 x 60 inches.

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Blackeyed Tree #2, 2017
Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Blackeyed Tree #2, 2017. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 48 x 56 inches.

Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, Blushing Shoots, 2016. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 46 x 46 inches.

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Black Urn, 2016
Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Black Urn, 2016. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 46 x 48 inches.

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Eyed Tree #4, 2015
Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery

Mary Lou Zelazny, The Eyed Tree #4, 2015. Acrylic, oil, collage on canvas. 48 x 60 inches.

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

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.