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" Preston Singletary: The Uncle Who Walked into the Forest"
2007-06-16 until 2007-07-08
William Traver Gallery - Tacoma
USA United States of America
William Traver is pleased to present The Uncle Who Walked into the Forest, solo exhibition featuring new work by Tlingit artist Preston Singletary. Recognized internationally as one of the leading glass artists of his generation, Singletary combines two of the Northwest's most prominent artistic influences, gracefully executing traditional Native American designs in blown glass. Singletary learned the art of glass blowing by working with artists in the Seattle area including Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni. As a student and assistant, he initially focused on mastering the techniques of the European tradition. These works were well received, but did not satisfy his desire to make a unique artistic statement.
In the early 1990's, Preston began to experiment with transferring Tlingit designs, traditionally carved in wood, into the modern medium of glass. The material felt particularly appropriate to Singletary as a continuation of Native American culture's long history with glass, which began centuries ago with the introduction of trade beads. "Native cultures are always moving forward and adapting to new materials... Representing Tlingit designs in glass felt like a logical next step to me - and glass gives the work a permanence that wood can't duplicate," says the artist.
Recently, Preston has moved in a slightly new direction, with an eye toward modern art. His newest pieces include more figurative shapes, contemporary designs, more monumental pieces such as large boxes and lidded chests. This evolution is the result of careful thought by the artist. Through his studies, he has come to understand that many artists of the modern art movement, such as Noguchi and Miro, were influenced by "primitive art." By incorporating modern art elements into his latest work, Singletary feels that he is performing a reclamation - placing Native American art in the modern art world.
Preston Singletary's artworks are included in museum collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle WA), the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Handelsbanken (Stockholm, Sweden). Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching and lecturing internationally. Recent museum exhibitions featuring his work include Fusing Traditions ,a traveling exhibition which is currently on display at the Burke Museum (Seattle, WA), Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation at the Museum of Art & Design (New York, NY) and a 2004 solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum.
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