Dara Engler
A Pirate’s Guide to Survival

My paintings and drawings are portraits of an alter ego, often rooted in exaggerations of my own experiences. Their loose narratives are allegorical, embracing human foible and the humor that comes with it. My interest in the figure lies in facing these awkward obstacles.

Inspired by my four years in Louisiana and by Karen Russell’s book “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” my pirate-y anti-hero adopted the curiosity of Russell’s characters. I was struck by her character’s combative reverence for their natural environment. My pirate is spearfishing, skinning squirrels, and learning to tie nets. She is an explorer, running into new creatures in new lands.

My work plays with flatness, pattern and line juxtaposed with the rendered form. It is unclear whether the figure is outside or whether the background is a backdrop in an imagined space. The three-dimensional artifacts further cloud the line between fact and fiction, causing the work to teeter between real and imagined worlds.

-Dara Engler, 2016