New Work by Patricia Bellan- Gillen
July 6-August 17, 2013
Closing Reception: August 3rd, 4 to 9 pm
Collectors Art Night: August 2nd, 6:45 pm
Somewhere in the brain of Patricia Bellan-Gillen, personal narratives mix with fairytales. Historical events intertwine with the imagined and the veil of nostalgia blurs the border between fact and fiction. Archetypal imagery dances in the temporal lobe with cartoon characters. Bellan-Gillen's work uses these bits and pieces of visual history, the "stones and bones" of memory to suggest a narrative and remix our stories. These disorderly notions are exploited and employed in an attempt to engage the viewer's associative responses and to jar the forgotten memories and stories that lay quietly below the surface.
After years of studying cultural, dream, mythological and religious symbols, Bellan-Gillen is beginning to believe that the most important signs are the images that appear and keep pressing on one's mind with no explanation-unexpected but oddly recognizable visions that flash across the brain when words and phrases like "doubt," "reality TV," "turn to salt" or "separation of church and state" are heard...or the nascent compositions that appear while revisiting the pages of vintage Mad Magazine or hearing the memorable Da-Da-DaDa-DaDa theme song from the Rocky and Bullwinkel Show. Honoring these puzzling visages maps the direction that she has begun to follow. This new body of work combines ideas and imagery generated through study and research with ideas and imagery that are felt, intuitive and enigmatic. The work also celebrates a return to the fundamental act of drawing.
Bellan-Gillen is an artist who welcomes provocation and puzzles. Consequently, her work confronts the viewer simultaneously with beauty and awkwardness, mediating grace with humor, and achieving a weird elegance. Above all, Bellan-Gillen places great trust in the viewer.
"A WORLD OF DISORDERLY NOTIONS, PICKED OUT OF HIS BOOKS, CROWDED INTO HIS IMAGINATION." Miguel de Cervantes
About the artist: 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.