Jules Engle: Kinetic Energy

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Jules Engel was one of the most imaginative, innovative, creative beings I’ve ever known…  What stimulated these words from a myriad of artists, students, curators, collectors and writers? We invite you to explore Jules Engel’s paintings, films, drawings and prints that spring off the walls in our colorful exhibition.

The Jules I Knew was generous, opinionated, whimsical, direct, impatient, sophisticated … and fun to be with! His urbane wit showed up in his work in both titles and images; see “Unbalanced” 1940 and “Direction” 1960. He was equally powerful at creating visually melodic storyboards for “Fantasia” 1940 and describing bombastic sound for “Rumble” and “Train Landscape” in 1975. The kinetic line invigorates his abstract easel work – see “Untitled” 1947 as well as “The Meadow” drawing 1990s.

The history of his filmmaking really began at the Walt Disney Studios in 1938. During World War II he was in the Army’s Hal Roach Unit making instructional movies. Afterwards, he joined fellow members of the Unit in forming UPA Studios in 1946. In 1946. In early 1950s, with Herb Klynn, he formed Format Films. Focus Films evolved by 1960, the same year he produced “Icarus Montgolfier Wright” that received an Academy Award nomination.

Creating both live-action and animation films for the next decade, he then joined the fledgling CalArts in 1970 for a new career. He developed the Department of Experimental Abstract Animation…and the rest in CalArts history. He rounded out these sixty-plus years with a return to printmaking in 1999 ( after Tamarind Lithography Workshop in mid-1960s) to collaborate with George Page at the Versailles Press in a brilliant series of color lithographs.

Jules was an artist who exuded excitement, who enjoyed making his art, viwing all rts, hearing music, teaching at CalArts and – most of all – realizing the accomplishments of his students. Though he looks pleasure in receiving the many international awards, his greatest pleasure was from awards earned by the men and women who flocked to his classes for over thirty years.

We will show a number of his films during the course of our exhibition and look forward to sharing his art with you.

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