Preston Singletary: New Works in Glass, Bronze and Paper

Opening Reception: First Thursday, October 1 6-8pm

We are proud to present new works in glass, bronze and print by internationally acclaimed artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit). Primarily known for sculpture in glass, Singletary has begun to expand his forms of expression to richly patinated bronze, and to two-dimensional drawings on paper.

Singletary has long been inspired by the myth of Raven stealing the sun, moon and stars from the bentwood box where it was hidden by a chieftain. It is a legend he returns to in glass, prints, and bronzes, and from many angles. The most recent imagining of this myth is in the model pole “Raven and the Box of Daylight”, a new limited edition bronze. He also presents his Tlingit Glass Basket series, honoring the weaving traditions of the Tlingit and other northern nations.

Exhibition Dates:

October 1, 2015 - October 31, 2015

Involved Artists:

Preston Singletary

Featured Works


On Collaboration:

Preston Singletary has worked collaboratively with artists from all around the world, creating artworks that are often unique hybrids of disparate cultures. He has combined Northwest Coast formline and traditional Venetian reticello with Dante Marioni; added the mythology and jade carvings of Maori people to Tlingit myths with Lewis Tamihana Gardiner; and invited famed Nuu-chah-nulth artist Joe David to design amulets and sculptures in a Northwest Coast fusion.

“I see myself as the designer, the conceptual engine,’ says Singletary. “Glass is always a collaborative process: it cannot be done solo and achieve what I want to achieve—and I wouldn’t want to do it alone. Culture isn’t made by one person alone. The spirit of collaboration teaches me how other indigenous people interpret their cultures. Indigenous artists have been kept inside this cultural corral for such a long time. Now is the time that we can be the arbiters of who we are, what we make, how we work. No one else gets to decide for us any longer.”

“Bronze, prints, glass: they are transformative media. I adopt new technology and processes to keep the symbols and stories of my culture alive. A person who seeks to preserve the culture should be able to conceptualize it in a new light. That’s how it stays healthy; how it continues to thrive.”

On the new limited edition Bronze Poles series:

David Svenson, a renowned carver who has been adopted into the Shangukeidi clan (Tlingit nation), encouraged Preston on his path to learn and to contribute to the Tlingit art tradition.

“I met Dave Svenson many years ago when we were both working at the the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA. I was studying Bill Holm’s book Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form when Dave introduced himself and explained that he worked with a group of carvers from Haines, Alaska. He offered to share what he knew of Northwest Coast art with me. I am grateful for his early mentoring .”

Svenson was very involved with the creation of the Totem Pole that was raised at Pilchuck honoring Pilchuck co-founders John and Anne Hauberg and Dale Chihuly. Preston counts his involvement with this same totem project as one of the defining experiences of his life.

“It taught me so much about my Tlingit culture, as well as the profound joy and satisfaction in the collaborative process.”

Svenson carved the original “Family Story” and “Killerwhale Totem Pole” wood poles that were later cast in bronze at Bronzesmith foundry. Singletary was attracted to Bronzesmith and Ed Riley because of his work with patinas. Patinas extend the life of the piece.

“The Killerwhale Pole pays tribute to our friendship and to both of our cultures,’ says Singletary.

“I am not a carver, so when I want to design a totem pole I develop the design and the concept and then I partner with a carver to bring forth my ideas. The Killerwhale is my family’s main crest symbol, and I am of the eagle moiety—hence those two figures on top. David was adopted by the Shangukeidi clan, and his clan crest is the thunderbird. Along the bottom is a wolf, and on each side of the bottom is a soul catcher with a spirit face in the center.”

Singletary also works with Northwest-style carver David Franklin, a protégé of one of the Coast’s most highly respected artists, Duane Pasco. Franklin has helped realize some of Singletary’s newest forms, such as the “Raven and the Box of Daylight” bronze pole, and figures in the Walter Soboleff Center Clan House installation in Juneau, AK.