Circumnavigate the Soul
Daniel Bronstein, Claudia Carballada, Femi Dawkins, Carol Es, Zeal Harris, Sheku Kowai, Alan Nakagawa, Glynnis Reed
Curated by Steve Irvin

August 11 – September 16, 2007
Artists’ Reception:  Saturday, August 11, 6–9 pm

3407A Glendale Blvd. (corner of Revere), Atwater Village, CA 90039
Contact:  Steve Irvin, Gallery Manager

(323) 913-2247, fax (323) 913-2245
Web site,
Hours, Thursday – Sunday, 1-7pm

The man who sailed around his soul/from east to west from pole to pole/with ego as his drunken captain, greed the mutineer had trapped all reason in the hold

Circumnavigate the Soul concerns itself with the business of feeling and conscious beings, and with the activity of human beings in touch with the sinuous [1] connection to matters of the heart and soul.  Not to confuse or to belabor believe-what-you-read naiveté, this exhibition attempts to investigate and reveal where the invisible-ness of artists becomes tangible and concrete, visceral and affecting.

The man who walked across his heart/who took no compass, guide, or chart…

A lyrical riff on “ The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul,” by XTC from their critically acclaimed Skylarking release of the 1986, Circumnavigate the Soul similarly considers themes of foolhardiness, sacrifice, and grief. But much more importantly, like the song, it obliquely subverts what obviously may be the true goal of most artistry. Without these real and often difficult choices and emotions, how does the individual find comfort in arriving at true happiness?

...And the jellyfish stings…

Sometime it’s risky business to be completely abandoned to the emotions.  We may live in denial to our emotional signals, controlling the pressure to be OK, to be compliant, politically correct, happy, intelligent, and attractive, often to our own eventual peril and emotional instability. Pressures forged by the superficial and dysfunctional environment can exacerbate bad situations, yet when the choice is made to truly control—and create—who we are, we become our true selves and reflect not only this truth, but also how common our experiences are.  In this regard, being free can be a refreshing and calming suggestion as well as a welcome departure.

The soulful is what may typically be pursued through any general art practice.  Why does a person paint? Why does another quilt, stitch, embroider? Why does yet another sculpt?  We might say it is to exercise one’s restless soul, but so seldom do we really identify the invisible.

As an abstract yet non-organic (spherical [2], like heaven and earth?) entity, the soul is something not usually considered navigable, and perhaps for good reason. The idea of theoretically prospecting interpretations of the soul, however, are as safe and sane as legal fireworks, used with caution yet consistently permitting grand results and entertainment—an idea that deserves more attention and cultivation.

The lucidity often associated with the soul is inherently investigated throughout the show.  Daniel Bronstein’s graphic quest for freedom through graphic metaphor is counter-balanced by Carol Es’ seeking solace in reconstructing memory through humor.  Alan Nakagawa’s paintings and interactive study reveals the city’s soul and its often-inhospitable downtown.  Claudia Carballada’s vibrant paintings and objects open up to a world of visual expression steeped in rich hues and textures.  Femi Dawkins’ minstrel gaze at the primitive self via the construct of artifact vs. artifice complements the mix of primitive and contemporary fused by Sheku Kowai.  The premise of Zeal Harris’ autobiographical/self-ethnographical “personal experience narratives” liaise with Glynnis Reed’s photo-graphical/ethereal prints and mixed-media linking the past and future.

Thus where the invisible ends the concrete begins, hopefully transporting us to places where being honest, whole, and sincere are as truthful as what’s painted on the canvas or written on the page, photographed in the alley, or danced on stage.

[1] With graceful winding or curving movements

[2] Relating to celestial objects

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