Patricia Bellan-Gillen

Artist Statement

After years of studying cultural, dream, mythological and religious symbols, I am beginning to believe that the most interesting signs are the images that appear and keep pressing on one's mind with no explanation-unexpected images that flash across the brain when phrases like "war by proxy," "turn to salt" or "separation of church and state" are heard. Or the nascent compositions that appear while revisiting the "Spy vs. Spy" pages of vintage Mad Magazine or hearing the familiar Da-Da-DaDa-DaDa theme song from the Rocky and Bullwinkel Show.   Honoring these puzzling visages maps the direction that I have begun to follow in my paintings, prints and drawings.  In very simple terms, I want to make work that combines ideas and imagery generated through study and research with ideas and imagery that are felt, intuitive and enigmatic.

This current body of work continues to build on the use of imagery that suggests a narrative, remixes our stories and attempts to engage the viewer's associative responses: imagery that is at once forgotten but familiar.  The work also celebrates a return to drawing-the sheer love of the fundamental act of working with the most basic of materials.

I must add that I am an artist that finds absolute exhilaration in mark making, from the controlled and academic to the childlike and spontaneous. I often look to the work of outsider artists for inspiration and awe.  I want to achieve a weird elegance.  I welcome provocation and puzzles. I would like my drawings to confront the viewer simultaneously with beauty and awkwardness and to mediate grace with humor.  I place great trust in the viewer.

Bio

Patricia Bellan-Gillen lives in rural Burgettstown, Pennsylvania adjacent to the West Virginia border.  She is the Dorothy L. Stubnitz Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where she teaches a variety of classes including Foundation Drawing, Concept Studio, Painting and MFA Seminar.

Bellan-Gillen's paintings, prints and drawings have been the focus of over 35 solo exhibitions across the U. S., including venues in Washington DC, Chautauqua, NY, Las Cruces, NM, Albany, NY, Bloomington, IL and Portland, OR.   Her work has been included in numerous group shows in museums, commercial galleries, university galleries, and alternative spaces.  Venues have included: Hudson river Museum, Yonkers, NY, Chelsea Museum of Art, New York, NY, Frans Masreel Centrum, Belgium, and the Tacoma Museum of Art, Tacoma, WA. 

Selected Solo Exhibitions2017 Willful Wondering/Drawings 2011-2016, The Media Center Gallery, Rice University, Houston, TX

2016  Willful Wondering/Drawings 2011-2016, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (catalog)
   Willful Wondering/Selected Works, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
   Willful Wondering/Works on Paper, Heike Pickett Gallery, Lexington, KY
   New Work by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Susan Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN

2015  New Work by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Station Gallery, Lock Haven, PA
   Small Stories/Small Works by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Heike Pickett Gallery, Lexington and Versailles, KY

2014  Works on Paper by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Solander Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand

2013  Susan Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
   James Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
   Lake George Art Project Gallery, Lake George, NY

2012  Beautiful Stories (Remix), Elzay Gallery, Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH
   Ohi(Re)Collection, Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College, Ithaca NY

2011  University Gallery, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville,NC                                                      

          Elzay Art Gallery, Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH

2009  Zoo.Logic+, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA                 

2008  Zoo.Logic,The Erie Museum of Art, Erie, PA and

         Chautauqua Institute Gallery, Stroll Arts Center, Chautauqua, NY

         Zoo.Logic: Small Works, Heike Pickett Gallery, Lexington and Versailles, KY

         Zoo.Logic: Large Scale Works, AWW Fine Art Gallery, Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY                 

2006  Kendall Gallery of Art, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, MI

         Butters Gallery, Portland, OR

2005  Not Really Animal Stories, Bruce Gallery, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA

2004  Artists Image Resource, Pittsburgh, PA

2001  Space 201, The Brewhouse, Pittsburgh, PA

         Heike Pickett Pickett Gallery, Versailles, KY  (2001, 1996)

2000  Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, SUNY at Alfred, Alfred, NY

1999  University Art Gallery, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

         Merwin and Wakely Gallery, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL                 

1998  University Gallery, Miami University, Oxford, OH

         Foreland Street Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

1997  Butters Gallery, Portland, OR

1996  Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

         College Art Gallery, College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY

         Sweet Briar College Art Gallery, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA                 

1995  The Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA

         Heuzer Art Gallery, Bradley University, Peoria, IL

         Artemesia, Chicago, IL

         Mesaros Gallery, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV                 

         Artist of the Year Exhibition, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA                 

1994  Kittredge Gallery, University of the Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

         Middleton-McMillan Gallery, Spirit Square Center for the Arts, Charlotte, NC

         Morehead University Art Gallery, Morehead University, Morehead,  KY