B. 1959 Suzanne McClelland earned her BFA at the University of Michigan in 1981; moving to New York, she received an MFA at the School of Visual Arts in 1989. Her first one-person exhibition was with Stephanie Theodore Gallery (1992). She quickly received national attention after her inclusion in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial Exhibition (1993) and a site-specific installation for the Whitney's Philip Morris branch.
McClelland wrote in her journal for a number of years before exhibiting, and a sense of writing pervades her style, which explores the relationship between the appearance of words and their meaning. As a result, McClelland's work can be "read" on many levels. Her splashes, scrawls, and thick blobs of paint or clay allude to the energetic strokes of Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning, while her obsessive repetition of a single word creates a highly personal poetry about the shifting, often elusive nature of meaning.