Drive-by: Danny Singer at the Seymour Art Gallery

For Drive-by, artist Danny Singer returns to a format that he experimented with ten years ago, a digital panorama of photographs taken while driving through the city of Vancouver. With the camera mounted in the passenger window of his van and pointed perpendicular to the sidewalk, Singer drives slowly, tripping the shutter with a remote control, using speeds slow enough to blur the backgrounds and a strobe that freezes or ghosts the foreground. The resulting images both capture and suggest movement while being frozen in time.

In this new digital photograph created for the exhibition at the Seymour Art Gallery, Singer builds on his earlier image by adding new scenes, editing, scanning and stitching to create a continuously blended print that reads like a film strip. He plays with the order and juxtaposition of images, implying a narrative and relationships that may not have occurred. By mixing scenes shot ten years ago with ones photographed recently, Singer demonstrates that “fragmentary images can trigger memories and emotion” and reminds us that memories have a way of blurring and fading as time passes. The resulting print is more than 70 feet long and 3 feet high and wraps around the gallery walls, so that as viewers walk along the image they re-enact the drive-by experience.

Like Singer’s photographs of main streets of towns in the Canadian and American prairies, this single long print raises questions about the nature of reality and perception. The prairie images depict real Main streets but present them in a way that we could never see with the naked eye, just as the Drive-by image shows us scenes that we might have seen but which did not take place in the order in which they appear.

Danny Singer is a photographer living in North Vancouver. Born in Edmonton, he studied acting and film at Simon Fraser University and embarked on a career as a filmmaker when hired to work in the film department at CBC. Singer made the transition to photography in the 1970s, while living in Montreal. His artwork has been exhibited across Canada and is in the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, among others. He was included in the 2010 Alberta Biennial and two of his photographs will be exhibited in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection. He exhibits his work in Vancouver at Gallery Jones.

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