The Bellefonte Art Museum: Pat Dolan

Posted on April 6, 2013 


One of the more than 60 artists listed in the Bellefonte Art Museum’s registry is Pat Dolan. Here is her statement:

I have a fascination with paradox—the juxtaposition of opposites. The paradoxes in life fascinate me to the extent that I have explored them on many levels, in many ways. The soft and hard of nature, spirituality, age, music, literature, personality, and more all invite me to explore opposites and how they work well together in certain circumstances.

The juxtaposition of opposites operating in harmony and rhythm is what underpins all my work—artistic and otherwise.  Thus, paradox finds expression through my frequent use of positive and negative space, light/dark, soft/hard, smooth/rough, straight/curved. I enjoy taking opposing elements and make them dance in counterpoint with one another. I believe that bringing opposites into artistic balance demonstrates both the beauty of and the necessity of relational harmony between all opposites.

For over 20 years I worked in watercolor until I was able to realistically execute a hard walnut table topped with a soft lace doily on which rested an old cutting board where a sliced apple and the knife rested together. And then I felt as though I had just completed a paint-by-number kit. Exacting detail requires exacting planning, drawing, meticulous painting, and strict expertise/craftsmanship. After a while, it can become quite boring.

Thus it was I turned to fiber art—combining fabrics, threads, by hand and machine sewing followed by the addition of drawing, painting, manipulating, and collaging now form my art. The ever-present paradoxes I encounter and revision demand to be set free from my imagination, mind, and heart. For the past 20 or so years, I have worked in this medium, continuing to explore opposites, to pair them with one another in complimentary and harmonious ways.


Pat Dolan is from Minnesota where she graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a B.A. degree in art and secondary education. Throughout her career as an artist, Pat taught classes in drawing, watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, color theory, pen and ink, and creative stitchery. She lived in Bradford County for 16 years where she became well known as a realistic watercolorist focusing on antique still life arrangements, flowers, birds, and rural landscapes as her subject matter.

After moving to central New Jersey, Pat received an M.A. in spirituality and was an adjunct professor at Georgian Court University for six years. Artistically, Pat chose the fiber medium with its variant textures to express her inner visions. Using quilting and embroidery as techniques, Pat designed colorful, abstract wall hangings that were very organic in nature, fluid in form, and highly tactile in texture. Her fiber work has been exhibited at the National Quilting Museum in Paducah, Kentucky; the New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts; the Embroiders Guild of America: Margaret Parshall Gallery, Louisville; Schweinfurth Art Museum, Auburn, New York; the International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas; the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, among many other places. Pat’s work has also been published in several books and periodicals.

After 17 years in New Jersey, Pat and her husband retired to State College in 2008 where Pat has become involved in a small group of creative fiber artists, “Fibers Unlimited,” who exhibit yearly in early November at the Art Alliance, Lemont.

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The Bellefonte Art Museum celebrates the human spirit through the arts, recognizing the importance of art in our lives. In 2011, the museum experienced a large increase in attendance, private donations and membership and completed refurbishing the historic Linn House. The museum opened three new galleries: the Children’s Creativity Center, the Anna Wagner Keichline Gallery and the new Louise Bloom Sieg Gallery. The museum is opened Friday through Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Phone 814.355.4280



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