Mary Engel has exhibited her found object assemblage sculpture of animal figures at Marcia Wood Gallery for sixteen years. Throughout her career Engel has employed a range of media, scale, surface and sculptural techniques in the depiction of a variety of animals, including her main figure, the dog, as well as cats, horses, rabbits and the occasional bear, squirrel or giraffe.
From the beginning of her practice, Engel’s foundation of inquiry has been an exploration of the development of culture through myth and fable, and as with so much of the lore she studies, she has designated the archetypical animal form as representatives of humanity.
To date, Engel’s sculptures have been single figures gazing in a distinct direction, or implying an invitation to play, or to otherwise interact, with an implied other. With the new body of work, the implied other is now present with the exciting introduction of a second figure completing the piece.
The coupling of two subjects, as the compositional components of a single sculpture, deepens the metaphoric possibilities for the investigation of the relationships between diverse cultures and belief systems, both the disparities and the similarities. As well, the visual impact and presence of the work shifts from the viewer relating to a single figure, to the viewer observing the relationship between two figures.
Further visual, emotional and psychological tension is created as Engel varies the scale of the relating figures. The new work is inspired most immediately by the artist’s recent travels around the world, including India and Ireland, transpiring in the addition of elephants and jaguars to the artist’s stable.
Through Jan. 26.
Marcia Wood Gallery
263 Walker St SW
Atlanta, GA 30313