Meryl Engler grew up in Huntington Beach, California and moved to Akron, Ohio fall 2019. Meryl attended Syracuse University where she studied sculpture, printmaking, religious studies and history, while also competing on the women’s rowing team. Next she went to graduate school at University of Nebraska-Lincoln for studio art with an emphasis in printmaking. This is where she developed her love of colorful woodcut prints. She is inspired by hidden landscapes in our environment and the use of pattern and repetition in the world. She has shown both nationally and internationally. Meryl seeks to push the limits of printmaking and combine different art mediums in new and exciting ways.
Each one of my series of works chronicles a relationship, either with a person, place or specific time period of my life. My experiences are clouded in emotions, relationships and growth. I can look back to a place I’ve lived and identify the type of person I was then and how I have changed. I see how my surroundings framed who I was at the time and who I’ve become since. I find that I remember things in landscapes. I remember playing in the ocean as a child, watching the light dance along the waves. I felt the power and wonder as I stood at the precipice of both the water and my youth. I remember the piles of fabric and yarn surrounding my mother as she sat to sew blankets. In my mind the pattern from a quilt she makes becomes rolling fields or crashing waves. I remember the end of a love as a fence, a barrier between myself and him that I could see through but not overcome.
I seek to translate this through pattern, shape and color in drawing, collage and printmaking. Every mark, carved, drawn or cut, is trying to make sense of a moment or memory. The way I approach woodcut allows me to be rash, intuitive, thoughtful and careful throughout the different stages of the process. Woodcut involves working with the resistance, grain, and pattern of the wood. Controlling the gouge as it cuts through the wood requires focus, the full presence of both mind and body. If I choose to start a woodcut with a more emotional or physical action in the drawing, then through careful carving, I can start to understand the impulse, consequence and importance of the gesture. There is a heightened level of intimacy with each mark as I spend time carving around it. Woodcut is a physical medium. The strokes are strong and big and powerful because I am strong and big and powerful. The finished print still holds the urgency and intimacy required to make it. I approach drawing and collage in much the same way, a series of intuitive, thoughtful decisions. This allows for much experimentation in terms of layering and materials.