Paul Engeris has been drawing ever since he could hold a pen. Those who have known him across the decades remember a child, a boy, a teenager, a man, who would eat – and draw, speak – and draw, hold business meetings – and draw.
The result is a compelling, provocative body of work, produced entirely in ink, which entices the viewer into scenes that draw from Breugel, Dante and Escher.
There are images here of old crones and nubile women, of howling, horned devils and haloed angels. There is graphic porn, too, in the engorged genitalia of men, women and beasts, floating past caricatures of the heads of state and the church. Paul Engeris himself describes his work as the ‘rampant scribbles of a subversive subconscious’.
In reality, the work here is complex and challenging, the creation of a surreal, bizarre, lucid imagination that captures, in the swirling strokes of a pen, the visceral emotions that define us; we are, after all, at one time or another horned devils or haloed angels, beasts who are absurdly driven by our genitals, or evolved beings who aspire to more.
And frequently, so frequently, we are the head-down, cowed figures that appear again and again and again throughout the sketches. Though naked, they conceal everything, giving nothing away.