Born 1950 in Chicago, Mary Ellen Croteau received a BFA in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990, and an MFA from Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1998. Her art has been exhibited extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has won numerous awards. It has been reviewed in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Chicago Tribune and The Reader among others. Her work has appeared on the cover of Artpaper, On The Issues magazine and a book jacket: The Last Taboo: Women and Body Hair (Manchester University Press), and has been reproduced in Ms. and other publications. Croteau has lectured nationally and internationally, including at the Accademia de Belle Arte in Florence, Italy, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, and Seoul Women’s University in Korea. In addition, she has organized, curated and juried numerous exhibitions, including “Attitudes:Good Girls/Bad Women” for The Living Arts Museum in Reykjavik, Iceland and "Are We There Yet? 40 Years of Feminist Art" at ARC Gallery in Chicago.
Calling her work “cultural critique,” Croteau uses a variety of media, from painting and photography to sculpture and installation, “to lay bare the underlying bias in our social icons.” As one reviewer stated: “The beauty of Croteau’s work lies largely in the humor employed to deliver some serious trouble.”