Niki Singleton

I hand-make my oil and acrylic paints and collage prints and objects into my paintings. I find imagery by laying down color, then collaging and drawing into it. I work on my larger paintings using a modular panel system which can be reconfigured to create unexpected forms and narrative shifts in my imagery. The finished paintings take on an ephemeral quality in this way. 

Like Goya and Beckmann, I’m interested in devising fictitious narratives and subversive characters to explore the issues my contemporary society faces through fantastical roll play and metaphor. I depict underdog characters in contrast to villains to give them power and encourage the viewer to see current events in a multifarious way. I place my characters; activists, queers, witches, monsters and divine entities, in environments that are hostile to them but give them supernatural powers to fight injustice. My characters rebel, flee, protest and sometimes succumb to defeat. I’m fueled by the contemporary complexities we face from rapid environmental degradation to gender and LGBTQ discrimination. My paintings witness injustice while celebrating difference, the power of the underdog and resilience in the face of adversity. 

As a gay female immigrant artist, themes in my painting identify with LGBTQ, Feminist, activist and immigrant communities. Imagery representing “the Other” in my paintings, like a solitary figure situated in a foreign environment emanates an outsider feeling I experienced as a child of immigrants. The high contrast northern light in my painting and reoccurring underwater ocean motifs such as sea creatures and vessels reveal my West Coast Canadian roots. Like my Greek ancestors, I use heroes, monstrosities, hybrid animal/humans and divine entities as metaphors for the ills and woes of our collective struggle.