Mary Engel has exhibited her found object assemblage sculpture of animal figures at Marcia Wood Gallery for over twenty 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 most recently endangered or threatened animals.
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.
Of her recent work using thousands of bullets on each animal, the artist states -
My lifelong love for animals and the connection I feel with them inspires me to sculpt. The depth of love given to and received from dogs since I was a little girl is immeasurable. My current pack, Gabrielle and Tinkerbell makes me walk, play and laugh every day.
The current series of endangered or threatened animals are covered with ammo drawing attention to the slaughter of animals for their horns, tusks, heads or internal organs.
I build using wire mesh and hydrocal then cover with epoxy and ammo. Each piece is built from the paws or hooves up, is hollow and unique.
Through my work, I aspire to create whimsical animated creatures using gesture and ‘movement’ to capture a presence I feel animals possess. The bullet sculptures are an attempt to reveal the animal’s beauty and grace as well as the atrocities perpetrated against them. Paradoxically, the surface created with thousands of bullets on each figure cloaks the animal in a golden glowing skin that brings to mind mythological beings or armored warriors.
Originally from Chicago Engel moved to Athens, GA in 1993. Her work has shown and been reviewed nationally since 1986 in galleries, art fairs and museums. Engel's work is held in private collections as well as institutions including Children’s Healthcare of Scottish Rite in Atlanta, The Arthur Blank Family Foundation, the Detroit Zoo, the Disney Corporation the President’s Collection of the University of Georgia and the United States Embassy, Rome, Italy. Museum exhibitions include Macon Museum of Arts & Sciences, Macon, GA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL, Asheville Museum of Art, Asheville, NC, and Fine Arts Museum of the South, Mobile, AL.