By Preston Singletary
For nearly two decades, Preston Singletary has straddled two unique cultures, melding his Tlingit ancestry with the dynamism of the Studio Glass Movement. In the process, he has created an extraordinarily distinctive and powerful body of work that depicts cultural and historical images in richly detailed, beautifully hued glass. Singletary has translated the visual vocabulary of patterns, narratives, and systems of Native woodcarving and painted art into glass, a material historically associated with Native peoples through an extensive network of trading routes.
Singletary entered the world of glassblowing as an assistant, mastering the techniques of the European tradition as he worked alongside Seattle-area artists such as Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni. He also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters while working with Italian legends Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto. The Northwest Native icons, supernatural beings, transformative themes, animal spirits, shamanism, and basketry design of Singletary's Tlingit heritage are manifested in his work, creating a unique whole that resonates on many levels and reveals a new artistic direction.
This mid-career retrospective of his work includes contributions by Melissa G. Post, Steven Clay Brown, and Walter Porter, as well as a DVD of Singletary working in his studio.
Preston Singletary's works are in museum collections around the world, including the National Museum of the American Indian; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Seattle Art Museum; Corning Museum of Glass; Mint Museum of Art; the Heard Museum; and the Handelsbanken (Stockholm, Sweden).