Christian Bernard Singer: From Scattered To Contained, a Retrospective - 3D virtual exhibition by Quest Art School + Gallery

Christian Bernard Singer: From Scattered To Contained, a Retrospective

Since time immemorial artists have created work that has tried to articulate the ineffable; to represent the connection with whatever it was that brought our life force into existence; to explore how we are part of the world around us, and that the world also resides within us. Christian Bernard Singer’s work belongs to that legacy of art that speaks to our soul’s intuition and that asserts that knowledge and understanding of place, hope and existence lay far beyond what merely the eye can see.
Since early in his practice Singer has used the materials of the earth itself to create his meditative, provocative – in a positive sense, explorations around purpose, existence and meaning. This isn’t limited to the artistic materials of ceramic and glass but rather the materials that the earth herself has provided: earth, moss, pine needles, leaves.

With sensitivity and intentionality, Singer weaves together these elements. Regardless as to whether they have been installations in natural settings or within the confines of a gallery environment, his work speaks to questions about mortality, legacy and meaning – concerns and questions that are shared amongst all of us within the human race, and that have been debated and meditated upon for millennium. Singer’s answer, or rather continual exploration, argues that the life force we seek, the legacy that we search for, the confirmation that we will continue to exist in some form, some essence or energy, comes from the connection with that natural environment.

As time passes and one season elides into the other, so too does a person’s lifetime, a culture, a civilization. Singer plays with ideas around the passage of time, reminding us of that. Cast glass body parts that peak out from living moss hint not just at lost civilizations and archaeology but are about the fact that that which was lost, buried, submerged, will once again assert itself and re-emerge, even if in a somewhat altered state. Unfired clay, painted with slip, dries out, cracks and eventually crumbles mirroring metaphorically what happens eventually to all living beings. Decelerated videos present ghostly encounters merging the historic and contemporary within a liminal lineage construction around artistic and creative legacy.

And while Singer’s work speaks strongly and profoundly to spirit and intellect, his meticulous – perhaps even obsessive – attention to the process and development of his work adds another layer of excellence in which to appreciate what he is capable of creating. With Singer’s work, concept is important but executive is equally so. His works are well thought out, and have intense visual power. Whether or not, for example, someone understands colour theory or has ever heard of abstraction, when standing in front of one of his pieces such as his pine needle creations, they will have an incredible visual experience. His works draw the viewer in, revealing the underworkings over a period of time. The experience is much the same as when standing in front of a Rothko. In fact, Rothko’s words “I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” could well have been written about Singer himself.

Written by Virginia Eichhorn

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