‘Time lapses’ explores a non-linear interpretation of time, where the artist treats each painting as an archeological site, creating fluctuating moments between the past and present.
As a starting point, Engler draws from personal memories of a particular place that is deeply embedded in the collective psyche of her father’s family, one that has witnessed historic events and imprinted its legacy on three generations of the Engler family. Assimilating the information is where the artist’s practice begins - at the point no longer belonging in her personal domain, a different narrative emerges; it speaks of symmetry and balanced composition, a tangible way to sort through the psychological detritus.
The Italian Masters of the Late Renaissance recognised the fundamental importance of the three-dimensional spatial plane and perspective when creating the perfect scene and whilst Engler acknowledges the legacy of this tradition, she propositions how a landscape can be defined in contemporary painting. Building the surface gradually, through a timely process of addition and removal, allows the artist to create segments, and as counterpoint to the representational work of the Fifteenth Century Greats, a landscape that never fully forms.
Through the appropriation of familiar classical iconography and its fusion with the artist’s own symbolism, there is disruption in the construction of a conventional idyll. Engler’s paintings could be interpreted as a form of collage. ‘After Nature’ weaves together imagery of delicate foliage, intricate embroidery and figures walking between ancient Greek friezes against a smoky horizon. The dualistic nature of humankind is demonstrated here, the ability to innovate and create, and equally, to destroy.
‘Looking Through’ and ’Altitude’ both breath light into the gallery where vertiginous heights of mountainous landscapes are teased into foregrounds via abstract strokes punctuated with scarlet flora and fauna. In ‘Traces’ a pastoral view is teased out from behind a lace veneer. Forests and fruit fall connect the paintings, emblematic of Nature’s riches. Offering alternatives to the conventional landscape and its beauty, Engler acknowledges this in the ‘Sky Line’ paintings with the depiction of rich red berries beneath bright blue skies. The scale of the paintings counterbalance the larger almost reserved pieces, to celebrate the smaller things. Discreetly picturesque, Engler pays tribute to the Romantics of the Nineteenth Century.
’Time lapses’ presents the tradition of landscape through an integrated lens. Engler’s careful and precise edits of visual information shift between both archeological pretext and the ecological, via nature and its environment. Throughout the exhibition, clusters of delicately painted birds hang chained to branches - a symbol of the human spirit to many, the bird represents a journey to the future and the ability to transcend time. Observing the exhibition here in the present, the artist subtly focuses upon ‘who we are’ and distills the moment of clarity before the lens fogs.