History, Legend & Fairytales

Patricia Bellan-Gillen says that 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. Sacred imagery moves about in the temporal lobe with iconic characters from children's stories and recent news flashes picked from the internet join the sagas of black and white television. My mixed media drawings and collages use these bits and pieces of visual history...the stones and bones of memory... to suggest a narrative and to engage the viewer's associative responses. 

The drawings combine imagery generated through reading and study with imagery that is personal and intuitive. Iconic figures from book illustrations and cultural, religious and dream symbols share the platform with the characters that appear and press on my mind with no explanation. 

Patricia Bellan-Gillen was born in Beaver Falls, PA and lives and works in rural Washington County, Pennsylvania adjacent to the West Virginia border. She is retired from Carnegie Mellon University after 29 years as a professor in the School of Art where she held the Dorothy L. Stubnitz Endowed Chair. The university honored her with the Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching in 2000.


Patricia has been active in the Pittsburgh art scene since 1977 as an exhibitor, educator and mentor. In 1995, she was the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts “Pittsburgh Artist of the Year.”

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