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A woman twirls her hair around her finger over cocktails on a first date.

A DMV clerk clicks his pen compulsively.

A child’s eyes search downwards as he relates, with chocolate chip grin, how the Corgi got into the cookie jar.

We are all constantly giving off and receiving subtle (and largely unconscious) cues indicating our feelings about a given situation.

In order to explore the deeper meanings behind body language, Thumbprint Gallery and artist Brian Meanswell will be exhibiting his Amorous Abyss series on Saturday, August 31 at EQ Culture Studios (2001 Main St., Barrio Logan) from 5 to 10 p.m. (free).

“As the title suggests, Amorous (showing or expressing love) and Abyss (a deep, immeasurable space) is about the vast emotions, feelings, motives, and thoughts that are constantly expressed by the changes in our facial expressions, gestures, posture, and body position,” the press release reads.

“Brian’s paintings of flowers and women’s bodies represent a feeling and/or mood. The positioning of their arms, heads, and hands he configures plays a significant aspect of his communication and relationships - in and outside his paintings. Mindful of sending and receiving of body language signals happening on a conscious and unconscious level, he finds particular body mannerisms to express an emotion of a certain moment in time.

“In process, he thinks of what made him feel the emotion - if it was the cumulative effect of a particular situation, if it was a single moment or item that struck him, and uses details from that image and attempts to visually represent this concept and recreate that feeling.

“In signature, he positions a flower to cover the eyes of the woman, fragmenting the facial expression in creating a visual composition to heighten an internal dialogue, occupied with memories of the past and concerns for the future. Drawing from the past, building on the present, attracted to the future, the experiences and relationships is what continues to drive this series to evolve visually, conceptually, and personally.

“We’ve all been in the trenches of love and we all have gone through the highs and lows of It,” Meanswell says, “and Amorous Abyss portrays my emotions from living and not living in a long-term relationship and coming at it from a completely real place. When your heart is invested in someone, it consumes you. And it’s those emotions I want express in these paintings. Whether it was through relationships, dating, to an acquaintance, at a random point I had my hopes high on that person, but for whatever reason, became what I never imagined it to be. Feelings like excitement, frustration, pride, passivity, seduction are some of the emotions that are channeled through the body language in the paintings. Whether it was love or lust, the beauty of what was, became the decay of what is. In all, this series tries to make light of the emotions that we all go through in romances, and I try to be honest about it.”

Brian Meanswell is an artist born and living in National City, California. Inspired by many creative friends, he is self-taught and employs trial and error as his teacher. Brian’s art is an extension of himself, a passionate appreciation of simple aesthetic pleasure fused with personal subject matter using his favorite mediums, oil and photography. Brian has found his way into exhibiting in group art shows and painting live at a variety of venues around Southern California.

Founded in 2009, Thumbprint Gallery maintains its involvement in supporting talented local artists by curating monthly exhibitions at the gallery and one night exhibitions at Bar Basic, located in downtown San Diego. Paul Ecdao and Johnny Tran are committed to their unique contribution to furthering the urban art movement that stems from outsider art, low/new brow art, street art and graffiti as well as support both established and emerging artists within the genre. Through a variety of art events, Thumbprint Gallery hopes to align affordable art with those it speaks to while building up the local art scene.

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