The Illuminated Forest, the newest exhibition by renowned Tlingit artist, Preston Singletary, is a poignant tribute to a sacred natural realm; a realm where, according to Tlingit mythology, the Shaman resides. Always interested in connecting the traditions of storytelling in Northwest Coast Native society with contemporary culture and politics, Preston Singletary brings fresh and newly imagined imagery to this most recent body of work. His blown and carved glass sculptures elegantly meld the traditional form-line design and iconography with modern forms, colors, and gestures; calling attention to the cultural threads that connect the two distinct temporal realities they represent.
Preston Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. His artwork features themes of transformation, animal spirits, and shamanism through elegant, blown glass forms and mystical sand carved Tlingit designs.
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. His work took him to Kosta Boda (Sweden) where he studied Scandinavian design and met his future wife. Throughout his 30+ years of glass blowing experience, Preston Singletary has also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters by working with Italian legends Lino Tagliapietra, Cecco Ongaro, and Pino Signoretto. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound. Now recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections such as The British Museum (London, UK), 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 Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC).
Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching, lecturing, and exhibiting internationally. In 2009, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, launched a major mid-career survey of his work, entitled “Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows”. In 2018, he launched a new traveling exhibition with the Museum of Glass, titled “Raven and the Box of Daylight“, which pushes the boundaries of glass as a medium for storytelling. Preston Singletary continues to assert himself as a keeper and teller of stories and as a contemporary master of his craft.