Suellen Rocca, known as a Chicago Imagist, is a member of the legendary exhibition group the ‘Hairy Who’ Her works have been widely exhibited and are in many prestigious collections including The Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
She holds the position of Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Elmhurst College There she is responsible for an extraordinary collection of Imagist and Abstractionist art on exhibit in the A.C. Buehler Library and for an exhibitions program of ten exhibitions a year. Rocca teaches painting, drawing and design in the Elmhurst College Art Department.
My work is autobiographical in the sense that it includes what is particular to me as a person.
The external world of popular culture provided the source for the imagery in my earlier works. Multiple mini-iconic images derived from Sears catalogues, kindergarten pre-readers and jeweler’s catalogues populated my canvases. Each image I derived from a popular source had been important in my own history.
The imagery of my later works expresses an internal world. The source for these images are powerful and persistent dreams and fantasies. In these works birds, boats, water, ladders and fish persist in unusual juxtapositions that explore the dichotomies of good and evil, life and death.