New Work by Patricia Bellan-Gillen
November 19th to December 23rd, 2016
Tinney Contemporary is pleased to present Willful Wondering and Disorderly Notions- an exhibition of new work by Patricia Bellan-Gillen. Bellan-Gillan is recently retired after 29 years as a professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Art. She now lives and works in rural Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. Her work has been the focus of over 45 solo exhibitions in venues across the United States and in the UK. Willful Wondering and Disorderly Notions offers large-scale mixed media drawings and prints that blur the line between reality and fantasy.
"Somewhere in my brain, personal narrative mixes with fairytales. Historical events intertwine with the imagined and a veil of nostalgia blurs the border between fact and fiction. Archetypal imagery moves about in the temporal lobe with cartoon characters and recent news flashes picked from the Internet join the sagas of black and white television. My drawings and mixed media works use 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 the senses of wonder and wondering that often lay quietly below the surface.
The sounds and meanings of words move me. After years of studying cultural, dream, mythological and religious symbols, I am 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 “phantom Iimb,” “history and legend” or the refrain “DA-DA…DA-DA-DA-DA” from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show are heard…or the nascent compositions that appear while revisiting the pages of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or thinking about the grand moral questions illuminated in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Honoring these puzzling visages maps the direction that I follow. This 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. I welcome provocation and puzzles. I would like my work to confront the viewer simultaneously with beauty and awkwardness and to mediate grace with humor."