Matthew Marks Gallery

Suellen Rocca

Suellen Rocca was one of the original members of the Hairy Who, a group of six visionary artists who first exhibited together in Chicago in 1966. Early in her career she developed a unique vocabulary of symbols — wedding rings, purses, and palm trees — inspired by advertising imagery. In her paintings and drawings she often arranged these images in repetitive patterns, creating compositions that have been likened to modern hieroglyphs. When asked about the sources of the imagery in her early paintings, Rocca cited “the cultural icons of beauty and romance expressed by the media that promised happiness to young women.” Since 1980 her work increasingly combined this iconography with allusions to the body, animals, and plant life.

Suellen Rocca (1943–2020) graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964 and soon began exhibiting with five former classmates under the name Hairy Who. The group’s exhibitions, which took place in Chicago and other cities between 1966 and 1969, drew national and international attention and went on to influence several generations of artists. In 2016 Matthew Marks Gallery presented Rocca’s first one-person exhibition in New York, “Suellen Rocca: Bare Shouldered Beauty, Works from 1965 to 1969,” which was followed two years later by a survey of her drawings made between 1981 and 2017. In 2020 the Secession in Vienna organized an exhibition of Rocca’s paintings and drawings, including works completed just before her death.

Selected Works

Exhibitions

SUELLEN ROCCA
In Dreams, The Last Works

November 5, 2021–January 29, 2022

523 West 24th Street
New York

SUELLEN ROCCA
Drawings

September 14–October 27, 2018

526 West 22nd Street
New York

SUELLEN ROCCA
Bare Shouldered Beauty, Works from 1965 to 1969

September 9–October 22, 2016

523 West 24th Street
New York

Group Exhibitions

ONE HUNDRED DRAWINGS

November 8, 2019–January 18, 2020

523 West 24th Street
New York

PAINTING: NOW AND FOREVER, PART III

June 28–August 17, 2018

522 West 22nd Street
523 West 24th Street
526 West 22nd Street
New York

WHAT NERVE!
Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present

July 8–August 14, 2015

522 West 22nd Street
526 West 22nd Street
502 West 22nd Street
New York

Books

SUELLEN ROCCA
In Dreams, The Last Works

SUELLEN ROCCA
Drawings

SUELLEN ROCCA

HAIRY WHO
The Collected Hairy Who Publications 1966–1969

ONE HUNDRED DRAWINGS

Posters

PAINTING: NOW AND FOREVER, PART III