Wednesday, January 27, 2010

'Strange Intersections' in Brooklyn

Just a pair of old, worn-out jeans covered in dried paint?

Think again.

The work of Kensington-based artist Engels, such as “Engels 09,” which has said jeans crumbled into a pair of shoes packed into a wooden frame, shows his belief in the transcending power of art over the more mundane and material aspects of our lives. Here, that image conjures up one of bondage, of packaged humanity. And by standing the piece, as he does, on another that combines a picture frame with a mirror, the work is freed of its enslaved isolation and becomes an ode to painting.

In the exhibition “Strange Intersections,” at the Crown Heights-based Five Myles gallery, new works by the Haitian-born artist such as “Engels 09” are on view, showcasing the artist’s eye for details that, when combined on a canvas or a piece of plywood, become a unit. For Engels they resemble a journey, still ongoing and not afraid of detours.

The Brooklynite, who works out of his studio in Gowanus, describes his work as “abstract figuration” or “modern spiritual.” By often including photographs in his collages, he makes a contrast with the ephemeral strokes of a brush dipped in paint that for him is the underlying spirituality in modernism. Engels’ mastery of form, textures, colors, objects and built environments within the works, as well as his provocative juxtapositions, reveal his sense of the sacred found in ordinary things.

Strange intersections indeed.The exhibition is on view now through January 31 at Five Myles (558 St. Johns Pl.). For more information, call 718-783-4438.


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