ANGELS + ATMOSPHERES
JULY 28 – AUGUST 18, 2022
RECEPTION: SATURDAY, JULY 30, 5-6:30 PM
Christopher Engel‘s newest series, Angels + Atmospheres, stems from a two-year period during Covid, when the artist contemplated and reflected on the plight of isolated people, covered up, masked, and searching for answers. Much of the work relates to the beauty of an open face, of seeing a full being and all their expressions and emotions. All the work, whether abstract or figurative, has the same dreamlike, meditative quality.
Engel explains, “So many people today are searching for guidance and looking for help. What they can try to do is find the ‘angel’ within themselves, and when keying into that, they can open up a door of understanding, connection, and hope.”
This series reveals Engel’s idea that angels are all around us and are here to help us. Engel says, “In ancient history, people acknowledged the existence of angels and accepted them. In modern times, we find it harder to accept their presence, and yet they continue to exist.” Engel believes they can appear in the most unlikely places. “Angels are there – ‘summoned or not’ – whether on a street in Brooklyn, in a supermarket aisle, or in a cave by the sea.”
Engel’s abstract works are in many ways mandalas that are deconstructed; stretching out with layers of vibrant hues for us to ponder and move through. Atmospheres as a form of meditation. For example, in Above Below, we see what appears to be sacred writing, an incantation, swirling, fragmented across a block of color lines in the process of reconnecting.
Engel’s faces and figures are reminiscent of childlike drawings with quick strokes, thick color, and collaged elements. The layers of the paintings reveal many meanings, and the viewer is drawn to the symbolism of the letters, numbers, words, and archetypal imagery. Many of the collaged images are of angelic forms from many cultures, superimposed over figures questioning, searching, and speaking. In the painting Lumen, the single angelic being is illuminated and supports a childlike figure, while ringing a bell of awakening and epiphany. Just as in the abstracts, the markings create a mystical quality.
Engel continues, “We are always surrounded by the presence of angels. We can also be angels for each other.”
Featured article in 27East
Feature in UK Magazine Inside Artists
“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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