SOPAC’s Herb & Milly Iris Gallery Culminates Art Exhibit December 22nd With Free Reception

Featuring works by artists Gerard Amsellem & Mikel Frank, and Dan Fenelon / Curated by Micha Hamilton

WHAT: PRIMAL CONVERGENCEPhase II – Art Exhibition featuring works by Gerard Amsellem & Mikel Frank, and Dan Fenelon

WHERE: South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ

Sign Up for E-News

WHEN: On Display thru December 22, 2013; Closing Reception Sunday, December 22nd @ 6:00pm – 8:00pm

HOW: FREE. To learn more, visit or call 973.313.ARTS.


The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) brings its latest visual art exhibition to a close on Sunday, December 22nd. As part of SOPAC’s rotating art series in its Herb & Milly Iris Gallery, PRIMAL CONVERGENCE : Phase II is an exhibit featuring paintings, drawings and constructs by three NJ-based artists – the collaborative team of Gerard Amsellem & Mikel Frank, and Dan Fenelon, and curated by Micha Hamilton. Closing the exhibit is a free reception from 6:00pm – 8:00pm on Sunday, December 22nd, featuring a meet-and-greet with the artists.  The artwork on exhibit is for sale with partial proceeds supporting SOPAC.

PRIMAL CONVERGENCE: Phase II continues the celebration of the tribal, the transcendental and the mythic in the collection of paintings, drawings, collages, constructs and sculptures presented earlier this year by its predecessor PRIMAL CONVERGENCE.   Simultaneously ancient and futuristic, tethered by their bold, explosive use of colors and immersive scale, the works of these artists exude a sense of the sacred and supernatural, eliciting an instinctual, visceral reaction and engaging the viewer in a transformative meditation of mind, body and spirit. Known in their collaborative teaming as the VISUAL PASSION Duo, Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank introduce five (5) new works. Two large new works titled NAISSANCE (2013) and JUNGLE (2013) continue their series of large expressionist collage/paintings manifest as multi-paneled works combining the power of action painting with a nod to Japanese Shoji screens and Renaissance altarpieces. Three (3) new single-panel works titled BLUE DOOR (2012), THE FIVE ELEMENTS (2013) and JILL’S DOOR (2011) are further evidence of the creative honesty, understanding and vulnerability they strive to capture and express in their partnership and work. Important to all these works is the spontaneous working process these two artists have established, allowing their individual creative sensibilities for art and life to translate into a symbiotic vision through process and palette, creating a third artist.

At the same time, the seemingly stream-of-conscious, figurative paintings, constructs and sculptures of Dan Fenelon are iconographic and totemic, and are evocative of talismanic and fetishistic art often associated with shamanic practices of archaic and indigenous cultures. Two (2) works titled UNFINISHED VISION (1995) and BATTER UP (2011) are further examples of the artist’s ongoing and playful “wink-and-nod” commentary of idolatry and/in culture. With a range of work alternately playful and profound, deliberate and serendipitous, one should be careful not to dismiss the primal as primitive, as it would negate the highly developed artistic knowledge and skill these artists have acquired through lifelong passion and practice. PRIMAL CONVERGENCE : Phase II is a celebration of the connective, timeless expressions of the human spirit.


Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The multidisciplinary arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC – a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory. SOPAC is also a home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N’ the Hall performances and Seton Hall Theatre productions. SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in residence, Midtown Direct Rep, and its dance company in residence, Lydia Johnson Dance. For more information, visit