SEARCHERS + MESSENGERS
Works of Franklin Engel + Christopher Engel
Two Generations of Artists
July 25 – August 15, 2019
Reception: Saturday, August 3, 5-6:30 PM
There is a tradition of artist families to carry on the work of the ones that went before them.
The exhibit “Searchers + Messengers,” the work of Franklin Engel, father, and Christopher Engel, son, follows in this tradition. In this collection of work, both abstract and figurative images reveal a connection of both artists’ desires to understand the mystery and complexity of who we are, how we got here, and where we are going. Both artists gather their inspiration from similar muses – the difference is their interpretation.
In the “Searcher” series, Franklin Engel has conjured up abstract paintings on aged, wooden planes, collaging ceramic, wood, and stones with hidden texts, symbols, and gestures reminiscent of cave paintings and early astronomical drawings. Converging lines, triangles, and circles dominate the work over a sea of white, rust, and gold with blue burnt edges. Recollections and elements of the mind of a searcher have been recorded, and the viewer observes the never-ending journey of the mind and spirit. Franklin Engel explains, “we are constantly searching for symbols and images, past and present, to catch a glimpse of the universe that holds us all.”
The same spirits speak to Christopher Engel in his “Messengers” series, depicted by eternal figures surrounded by symbols, text, and collaged images. With a bold use of color and brushstrokes, Engel’s “messengers” take the shape of angels, prophets, monks, nuns, rabbis, shaman, teachers, spirits, and ancestors. These works are “portraits” of those who, “summoned or not,” as Carl G. Jung has stated, “are present.” Christopher Engel explains, “these figures appear in every culture in different forms, with the same message – we are only passing through this life momentarily yet we are each part of something that never ends. We are not alone, we are part of the universe.”
Both Engels, father and son, are speaking similar “languages” in their work. Their language of images is the speech of the unconscious – the “collective unconscious” – where, perhaps, the searcher meets the messenger.
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
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