international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Patricia Bellan-Gillen
Burgettstown, Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University, Professor of Art


pages 48-49


Writer Paul Krainak described my recent work as "formalist canon meets zoological illustration, penetrated by medieval spiritualism and glossed with personal dream imagery."

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 stumbling across a yellowed photograph torn from the New York Times. Honoring these puzzling visages maps the direction that I have begun to follow in my 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 large-scale drawings continues to build on the use of imagery that honors our stories, remixes our myths, suggests a narrative 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 and direct of materials.

With everything said, 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 and comic books 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.



born:1952, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania


Carnegie Mellon University, MFA, 1979
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, BFA, 1975
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, BS Art Education, 1973

selected awards/honors

Dorothy L. Stubnitz Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, 2001
Ryan Award for Excellence in Teaching, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996
Pittsburgh Artist of the Year, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA, 1996
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, 1982, 1980

selected publications

Art in America, Review, Kristina Olson, June/July 2009
Animal Magnetism/Review, Kurt Shaw, Tribune Review, Pittsburgh, PA, 2/19/2009
Electrifying Art/Review, Mary Thomas, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/9/2009
Glassnost-Eight Artists/Catalog, Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 2007

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Zoo.Logic+/Solo Exhibition, The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA, 2009
Zoo.Logic/Solo Exhibition, The Erie Museum of Art, Erie PA and Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY
New Work/solo Exhibition, Kendall Gallery of Art, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, MI, 2006
New Work/Solo Exhibition, Butters Gallery, Portland, OR, 2006

selected group shows

Celebrating Darwin, Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University, Columbus and Marion, OH, 2008
Cattle in American Art, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY, 2006
Flock and Fable, The Chelsea Museum of Art, New York, NY, 2004
American Art Today:Fantasy and Oddity, The Art Museum at FIU, Miami, FL, 2002

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