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.
“From the very first moment I crossed the bridge over the Shinnecock Canal and entered the Eastern End of Long Island and on to Montauk, I knew I had made a very special connection. I experienced a new creative energy that I had to capture. I had to capture the people and the beauty of these special places, including Sag Harbor, Springs, Amagansett, East Hampton, and Montauk. But it all began when I crossed that bridge at Shinnecock Canal.”
Franklin Engel’s Bio:
Franklin Engel was born and raised in New York City, and began his professional training at the Art Students League. He is proud to be a life member of the League. Franklin’s work has been exhibited in many galleries in New York including the Deutsche Gallery, Gallery International, 57th Street Gallery, Fusion III, The Art Students League, and Enigma Gallery.
His wood sculptures and oil paintings have been exhibited at Odd Fellows Hall in East Hampton, Art House Engel, and Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor. He has worked extensively in Mixed Media, Creative Sculpture, film and slides for many Mixed Media productions including “Party Clips” at Theater East, “The Sun’s Morning” at Manhattan Theater Club and The Mercer Arts Center, “Power Cut” at Provincetown Playhouse, and “Nine X NY” at Citicorp Center.
Franklin has created visual theater pieces including “Subways,” “Bench,” and “City Games.” He also created visual elements for the ”New Playwright Series” at New Media Repertory Co., a non-profit theater company based in New York City, which he co-founded with his wife Miranda McDermott in 1976.
Franklin is currently collaborating with his daughter Lori Chan in an art project being presented for the “Peace One Day” project, founded by Jeremy Gilley.
Franklin resides in New York City with his wife.
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