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Beautiful Stories (Remix) opens at Ohio Northern’s Elzay Gallery of Art

ImageSeptember—The Ohio Northern University gallery program continues its 2012–13 art exhibition and gallery season at the Elzay Gallery of Art with a show entitled “Beautiful Stores (Remix)” by artist Patricia Bellan-Gillen. The exhibit runs October 1 through November 9.

After years of studying cultural, dream, mythological and religious symbols, Bellan-Gillen found that the most interesting signs are the images that appear and keep pressing on one’s mind with no explanation. Honoring these puzzling visages, she maps the same direction begun in her paintings, prints and drawings. In very simple terms, she wants to make work that combines ideas and imagery generated through study and research with ideas and imagery that are felt, intuitive, and enigmatic.

Patricia’s 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.  Her work also celebrates a return to drawing—the sheer love of the fundamental act of working with the most basic of materials.

Admission to the Elzay Gallery of Art is free and open to the public, daily from noon to 5 p.m. while school is in session.

A public reception will be held Friday, Oct. 5 from 5–7p.m. at the Elzay Gallery of Art and the Wilson Art Center. As part of the University Homecoming activities, a public lecture will be held at 5:30p.m., Oct. 5. Both are free and open to the public.

Operated by the department of art & design, the University’s exhibition program serves as a vital means for engaging the Ohio Northern community and the Northwest Central Ohio region in the visual arts. The gallery season is designed to serve as an educational and cultural resource, to host national and international touring exhibitions, and to host original exhibits distinctly suited to an academic environment.

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. 

“After years of studying cultural, dream, mythological and religious symbols,” said Bellan-Gillen, “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.”

Bellan-Gillen continued, “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.”

The Elzay Gallery of Art is named for Colonel William O. Elzay. Colonel Elzay attended Ada High School and graduated from Ohio Northern in 1925 with a bachelor of arts. He earned an MBA from Harvard in 1929. After a career in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War, he enjoyed a successful career as a trust officer with Chase Manhattan Bank and as an independent financial advisor. In 1965, ONU awarded him an honorary Doctor of Business Administration. He also served on the Board of Trustees from 1955 until 1985. Col. Elzay died May 26, 1995 at his home in Boca Raton, Florida.

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2012–13 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Beautiful Stories/Rocky J. Squirrel as Ratatoosk, acrylic, oil, silverpoint ground, graphite on birch, 2010, 84" x 120"