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Christian Bernard Singer

Burr-Fur, 2020

Burrs and mixed media on wood

14” x 14” x 4”

$4,000 CDN (Please inquire for shipping)

Burr-Fur evokes the luscious textures of shaved Swakara furs, cruelly harvested when lambs are only one or two days old because the unique curly fur begins to straighten only three days after birth. The impulse to run your hands on the "fur" would give rise to an altogether different experience as the prickly needles of the burrs embed themselves in your hands.

Singer’s intimately-scaled and intricately crafted construction in painted burrs, delves into the intricate relationship between ‘consciousless’ consumerism in the Western world on our natural environment. This work serves as a poignant reflection on how we are witnessing the initial consequences of our actions as nature, now so exploited, that it has begun to turn the tables and is asserting its power in unexpected and disruptive ways.

In the exhibition catalogue for Pins and Needles at the Headbones Gallery, artist Julie Oakes writes: "Nature outperforms man with her reputation for detailing, quantity and specificity. She displays her work at every turn of the path and it is there to be understood if the constant pull of distracting modernity was not also there to hinder perception. In nature, the individuality and uniqueness of each part is reinforced innumerably- each pine tree loaded with needles that do not remain static but are responsive to the changes of time and environment. It is such an overwhelming concept that it is too often taken for granted and passed by in naive security that nature's wonders will not disappear even if we fail to recognize her miraculous show of diversity. In nature, the pine beetle also changes the colour of the forest and when the rusty red dominates, it is a dire sign that the forest is dying. Yet in Christian Bernard Singer's latest pieces it is as if the forest clears and rejuvenates with the potential to grow once again. Singer has brought about a transformation with a heightened poignancy that is in tune with the finest aspect of man – his awareness of the 'other.' Singer's acknowledgment of simple pine needles, a tattered blanket upon the forest floor, enhances awareness. The re-alignment of his material (forest's shedding) matches the wonder of the natural world and then tops it up. The origin remains intact yet each needle is given a specific place and then dressed in a resonant primal tint. In Singer's work a stronger translation as ART begins cycles anew."

For the two-person exhibition "On the Eight Day" (with Julie Oakes) at the Lake Country Art Gallery, Curator Wanda Lock wrote in the exhibition catalogue: "Christian Bernard Singer gives us a story-board - snippets of the natural world, co-existing, smaller works filling the surrounding space visually but also with a whisper of weather, wind, nature, light, and colour. The outside brought inside." Ashley Johnson also writes in the catalogue: "Variations in the arrangement of needles evoke ideas of natural events like storms, winds and ripples. It is a way of abstracting nature and making powerful forces visible. Thus the red “Dervish' evokes a tornado, with its crescendo of power ripping at the natural world. Singer's manner of interacting with his chosen medium is almost biblical, reverentially kneeling in forests to select his needles. These are carefully assembled with rapt attention given to the personality of each needle. This intellectual introspection is finally expressed in emotional form as an idea. What was once detritus to be mulched into food for the forest has been born again into mental sustenance. He chooses burrs that would be discarded or rejected; making an assemblage that transfigures them into an object of contemplation called 'Burr Fur', no longer an irritation. We are asked to reconsider nature in the light of this transformation.”

Exhibited at Quest Art Gallery (Midland, ON), 2022; and Lake Country Art Gallery (Lake Country, B.C.), 2020. Documented in both exhibition catalogues.

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