Mandalas: Dean Joseph Quillian.

Originally exhibited May 4–August 19, 2018
Entry Hall


In addition to being a pastor, professor, and administrator, Quillian was also a talented amateur artist. As a young person he started drawing freehand doodles in notebooks and on scraps of paper. Most of the designs featured a “love knot” motif, also known as “Solomon’s Ring,” in the center. In the 1950s Quillian started surrounding his square and diamond-shaped drawings with circles. In the 1970s Quillian began to add color to his drawings, a process usually done at home as a relaxation technique.

Through the writings of Carl Jung, Quillian learned that his “circles by a square” were mandalas. The mandala, literally circle in Sanskrit, is an ancient Hindu and Buddhist graphic art form representing the cosmos. According to Jung creating mandalas is a symbolic way of bringing order out of chaos and achieving unity in life. To Quillian drawing geometric designs was an unconscious form of self-expression. He found that giving his hands a task to do while attending meetings and conferences siphoned off excess energy and allowed his mind to focus more clearly on the topics of discussion.

This exhibition presents examples of Dean Quillian’s drawings dating from the 1940s to the 1970s. These graphic designs and other documents from the life of Joseph D. Quillian, Jr. are preserved in the archives at Bridwell Library.


Bridwell Library Special Collections