Memory of Language: Recent Work of Christopher Engel
July 26 – August 16, 2018
Reception: Saturday, July 28, 5-6:30 PM
The first communications between people mirrored what they saw in nature, trying to capture the movement and the gestures. The “Memory of Language,” as artist Christopher Engel depicts in his recent work, denotes not just origins of languages spoken and communicated, but the ability of people to record past and present events – beautiful moments of seeing the sun rise or the ending of a turbulent storm. Engel explains, “We have a drive within us to share these experiences as a way to both enlighten others and to lessen the overwhelming emotions of these occurrences. Once humans were able to record and transcribe these events, it empowered the viewers to become witnesses to the intimacies of life – the passing of time, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.”
Engel’s abstracts depict simple lines that bend into patterns of multiple colors rushing together in a dazzling display of forms reminiscent of hieroglyphics and simultaneously related to the fabric of life itself. His figurative work includes references to artists such as Basquiat and Picasso. “Picasso and Basquiat understood the meaning of symbols. They allowed the rain of people, images, thoughts, emotions to emerge from their paint brush,” Engel explains. His paintings “The Friends of Pablo Picasso” and “The Angel of Basquiat” touch upon these themes. Ultimately, we are simple parts of nature, thrust into a cacophony of thoughts and feelings. We try to make sense of life, just as those first people who created forms of language sought a way to break the silence, to speak across time, to communicate to those we may never meet. Engel further explains, “This current series of figures and abstracts are the continuation of my exploration and attempt to record what CG Jung called the collective unconscious. Images and patterns that span from the beginning of human consciousness to the present; messages expressing though we are only passing through this life momentarily, we each are a part of
something that never ends.”
Christopher Engel’s faces, figures and abstracts invite the viewer to enter their subconscious and allow his images to reveal themselves to their conscious mind. Continuing to embrace his Jungian philosophy, Engel incorporates archetypal images of the collective unconscious via the use of mythical, mystical and dreamlike images in his figures and faces. His abstract paintings trace ancient patterns, allowing the viewer to journey through a door to our primordial beginnings, where alchemy plays a role in the metamorphosis of random but recognizable shapes into powerful symbols.
Engel comes from a family of avant-garde artists, in both performing and visual arts, living and working in New York City. The changing landscape of the 60s, 70s and 80s was a major influence on his development as an artist, recording the spirits and energy of many cultures flourishing, growing and transforming at the same moment in time. Inspired by these patterns, as well as the experience of travels and time spent working and living in Montauk, Sag Harbor, and Nova Scotia, Engel illuminates the past as well as connects to the present moment and future journeys of the heart, mind and soul.
Engel’s work has been chosen for many art collections all over the world: throughout the U.S. – the New York Tri-State Metro area, The Hamptons, New England and the West Coast – the UK, Australia, and Europe. He has gained great critical recognition and acclaim over the past 15 years. Providentially, Romany Kramoris Gallery has successfully represented Engel’s work for the past ten years, and now with continuous representation both in the private, public, and corporate sectors.
“Carl G. Jung confirmed, ‘the ancient cultures had more realization about our place in the universe, than our current society can even conceive of’ (from Psychology and Alchemy). My work attempts to capture images of the archetypal origins of myth and to draw the viewer into a connection and communication with ancient spirits, the metaphysical, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent. These images portray the archetypal heroes and heroines that exist in the past, present and future all at the same moment. These images have appeared throughout history – in the first marks of our ancestors, on cave walls, on trees, in the sand – messages that though we are only passing through this life momentarily, we each are a part of something that never ends. I venture to record these images as a map for exploration – to show patterns, to chart the sub-conscious, to leave a record of this journey.”
– Christopher Engel