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.
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 Exhibitions
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