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Charlie Callahan

Adjacent to my home and studio, Point Reyes National Seashore offers abundant reference material for artistic research. My newest work combine personal and social imagery humoring overwhelming statistics indicating our perpetuation of a nearing “6th global mass extinction,” accelerated by business as usual. Having survived previous extinctions, the sea urchin has been a referenced object of my work; an icon, time capsule of circular energy and mandala predating our own fossil records. My Paintings and installations offer conversation critiquing and celebrating humanities relationship to the Sea. With a variety of style and technique, I experiment with pigment, polymers and resin on wood, canvas, walls and installations/shrine incorporating existing raw architecture and or temporary spaces. Creating a New mythology, wild animals are Gods where their survival depends on us. Lets discuss a future temple of the subconscious through the Urchin.

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charlie callahan's, Returning Gold to the Sun, submerges audience in a site specific, multi-sensory, black-lit, recycled redwood installation, utilizing painting, sculpture, audio and video. This installation as a whole was meant to be visually confusing and revealing with the underlying concept that the earth is in continuous flux beyond our control. The Painted Urchin Mandala is the center component assisting the whole installation. The other components of video and sculpture viewed from inside peepholes in the walls and out, concludes an allegory of a couple's relationship navigating some overall karma of modern global challenges. In “Returning Gold to the Sun”, my first solo exhibition at the Bolinas Museum this last January 2015, I collaborated with underwater field recorder Douglas Quinn. This elaborate installation is visually simple beginning with the glowing painting: the first thing to be seen in the dark, 12'x12'x8' black‑lit room which you enter from behind a black curtain. The viewer is confronted with a 6' diameter abstracted chiaroscuro sea urchin pattern seemingly floating from the wall. Adjusting to the darkened room, the phosphorescent painted mandala is revealed to be on a swelled, impregnated wall sculpture. The 3‑dimensional curve of the wall becomes apparent as you walk around the room. As the viewer absorbs the piece, the floating painting becomes contoured to a whimsical pattern made of recycled, cut redwood pieces forming the concave that covers the entire wall. While the glowing circular image incites viewers to peak inside its center black hole, the sound of chattering teeth (codes of Ice‑seeking walruses) and frequency of harp seal meets the viewer from the cut‑out abyssal space of the sculpture's center. This was one of three pieces that I morphed into the interior of the gallery walls. The two other pieces sharing the space with the painted sculpture were an allegorical mix of material and related subject creating a single experience inside the room. Adjacent to the enlarged urchin was a 43"x32" constructed sea turtle shell covered in an elaborate pattern of pinecone shingles with an 8" double ended blown glass bottle embedded in it's back. From inside, a monitor streamed a loop of a mud‑painted couple kissing in meditation posture on the Bolinas Lagoon. Headphones were attached streaming a continuos loop of frogs from the Bolinas sewer ponds. The third piece opposite of the turtle shell was an 8' vertical slit cut in the redwood wall from floor to ceiling. Lit from behind the wall, bottle caps collected from Ocean Beach create a colorful mosaic silhouetted behind glass.


  • This is an open ended portrait and seasonal landscape documentation of contrasting landscapes, incorporating studio mate Ashley Eva Brock's creature and costume design with my artworks and West Marin improv band "Fantasy Bracelet".

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