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Christian Bernard Singer

Mane, 2020

Pine needles and mixed media on wood

28” x 9” x 9”

Photo Credit: Richard Fogarty

$4,700 CDN (Please inquire for shipping)

Mane embodies a harmonious fusion of aesthetics and nature, movement and life, in which, pine needles are meticulously painted and affixed individually, breathing vitality back into their dead counterparts.

Mane is a part of a broader collection of work entitled the Portentseries that delves into the intangible forces of nature, notably the wind. Air remains unseen except by the way it leaves its mark on the world through the movement of objects it encounters. The inherent fluidity in this work also suggests the light touch of a gentle breeze on fur, or possible a torrent of activity of epic proportions – the rush of flood waters, torrential rains, or a single large flame unleashed on the forests.

More specifically, the Portentseries is inspired by increasingly dangerous weather phenomena as water temperatures rise due to Climate Change. For the first time on record, every tropical ocean basin around the world has produced a tropical system with the equivalent strength of a Category 5 storm, sometimes happening simultaneously – also a first. Here, Singer’s work turns on Climate Change issues and is inspired by graphics generated through numerical models of satellite remote sensor technologies, saying: “Much of our understanding of weather patterns and events comes from news sources, emitted from television screens and smart devices and often distancing us from the actual events and their causes.” Singer prompts us to ponder the profound impact of these unseen forces and their interconnectedness effects on the natural world.

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.”

Singer’s utilization of pine needles as the primary medium pays homage to the intricacies of the natural world and underscores the artist's profound connection with the environment. ‘Being’ with nature leads to the potential for interconnection and healing.

Mane was exhibited at Quest Art Gallery (Midland, ON), 2022; Lake Country Art Gallery (Lake Country, B.C.), 2020; Deep Water Gallery (Wiarton, ON), 2020

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