North and South Panel
Peterson is a leader in helping us understand the distinctions between the Northern and Southern design styles on the Coast. With this beautiful sand-etched glass panel, he offers a tribute to both traditions, bringing them together in harmony. He also unites traditional wood carving with new techniques in glass.
This panel shows two eagles circling each other, the top one rendered in Northern style formline, and the bottom rendered in Salish style. Comparing these two renditions of the animals provides a clear insight into the different shapes that make up the two related—but different—styles. Salish art relies on three primary shapes: the crescent, the trigon and the circle. Northern formline relies on ovoids, U-shapes, split-U’s, circles, and trigons. In Northern design there is a dynamic interplay between positive and negative spaces, and the lines themselves contract and expand almost continuously—the lines do not remain the same width for long. That gives the designs the tension, dynamism and flow. The Southern design system is also an interplay between positive and negative: the positive design elements are created by the negative spaces, which get carved out. What is left behind becomes the positive design element in the artwork.
This work is hung on a reversible French cleat, allowing either eagle to be at the top.
This panel was the cover for “In the Spirit of the Ancestors” book published by the Burke Museum and UW Press in 2014.