Mary Engel’s lifelong love and respect for animals and the connection she feels with them has been her artistic inspiration for over thirty years. In 2002, Engel expanded her oeuvre from predominantly sculptures of dogs to include the wider animal kingdom. Her most recent work has focused on endangered species such as an orangutan, a blue whale, a cheetah, and a pangolin. The orangutan is named after Sandra, an orangutan who was granted “human-like” rights in 2014 but was kept in a dismal cell in Buenos Aires for 20 years. In 2019 she was finally liberated and is in her new home in Florida at the Center for Great Apes. While the bear and the wolf are not officially endangered, Engel was moved to create a palpably alive and threatened pregnant bear in hibernation after the Trump administration revoked an Obama administration protection against killing wolves and bears while they are hibernating. Engel’s goal is to speak to the danger animals are in, and bring awareness to their endangerment, as well to honor and celebrate their beauty and presence.
Many of the endangered animals depicted in recent sculptures have been covered with ammo to reveal the animal’s beauty and grace as well as draw attention to the atrocities perpetrated against them for their horns, tusks, heads and internal organs. Sculptures embellished with precious objects as well as everyday items often reminds the viewer of a different time or place. Engel's grandmothers button collection, dogs’ tags, broken watches, farm tools and porcelain animal collection were early intriguing items.
"Postcards from a Pandemic" is brought to you by Marcia Wood Gallery in the hopes of keeping people connected to the transformative and hopeful power of art and the importance of artists' work during the Covid19 Pandemic.