Suellen Rocca (1943–2020)

Suellen Rocca, Fish Dream, 1997, graphite on paper, 11 x 14".

WHEN I HEARD of Suellen’s passing, I thought back to my first meeting with her. As I recall, she wasn’t at the get-together we had for the planning of the first Hairy Who show. So I did the “grown-up lady thing” and invited her for lunch, even though my kitchen skills were severely lacking. No matter, it was getting to know each other that was important. I served a packaged soup, but didn’t stir in the required amount of water, so it was sort of lumpy, powdery, and weird. Suellen was gracious and such a good sport, laughing with me, not at me. We gradually choked it all down.

She was kind, thoughtful, sensitive, searching, always looking—an artist, teacher, mentor, curator, and so much more. I will miss her.

Gladys Nilsson is an artist based in Wilmette, Illinois.