Singletary, John, (Down River)
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"Down River" by John Singletary
24 x 36 inches, oil paint and charcoal on canvas
My work focuses on the proximity of death in blackness and the emotion that accompanies that idea. I work in a figurative manner and challenge the way black bodies have been displayed historically within movements like orientalism, and use these bodies instead as vehicles to communicate vulnerability and pride. Coming from an interracial household and my father being a civil rights activist provided me a clearer lens in viewing my own experiences. Experiences involving inequality have become much clearer having lived in the city of Waco for recent years, a city famous for its deeply rooted racism.
I often contemplate biblical narratives through the lens of my personal identity both in blackness and spirituality, and illustrate those ideas through my compositions, color palettes, and brush work. I work fluidly between representation and abstraction in an intuitive manner, while rendering the figure with reverence and delicacy. The figures seem to exist in a space between life and death, not entirely filling either one. I paint the bodies with a vulnerability and sensibility that has seldom been offered to my community throughout history. I feel that exploring the idea of death in relation to the black individual is an act of unity, and an attempt to face and confront the afterlife of slavery.