PRESTON SINGLETARY

Preston Singletary 2016.jpg

When I began working with glass in 1982, I had no idea that I'd be so connected to the material in the way that I am. It was only when I began to experiment with using designs from my Tlingit cultural heritage that my work began to take on a new purpose and direction.

Over time, my skill with the material of glass and traditional form line design has strengthened and evolved allowing me to explore more fully my own relationship to both my culture and chosen medium. This evolution, and subsequent commercial success, has positioned me as an influence on contemporary indigenous art . Through teaching and collaborating in glass with other Native American, Maori, Hawaiian, and Australian Aboriginal artists, I've come to see that glass brings another dimension to indigenous art. The artistic perspective of indigenous people reflects a unique and vital visual language which has connections to the ancient codes and symbols of the land, and this interaction has informed and inspired my own work.

My work continues to evolve and connect my personal cultural perspective to current modern art movements, and I have received much attention for striving to keep the work fresh and relevant. I have been honored that my success has inspired other artists from underrepresented indigenous cultures to use glass and other non traditional materials in their work, and hope that I can continue to encourage more innovation in this area as my career progresses.”

Preston Singletary learned the art of glass blowing at a young age and through practical experience, first working as a night watchman at what was then the Glass Eye, a Seattle glass-blowing studio run by his high-school friend Dante Marioni’s father.  He quickly moved to the day shift and eventually joined a production team.  He learned hands-on at workshops at Pilchuck Glass School, was an assistant for local artists such as Benjamin Moore, worked the hotshops of Venetian glass legends such as Lino Tagliapietra, and studied Swedish design at Kosta Boda.

In the early 1990s, Preston Singletary’s artistic style turned from mastering European decorative forms to connecting with his Native American roots (both his great-grandparents were full-blooded Tlingit).  His interest in the Modern Art Movement introduced him to the notion of “primitivism”—how modern artists tried to embody the connection that “primitive” artists had to nature.  This was a turning point for the artist, who had grown up feeling disconnected to his Tlingit roots in Southeast Alaska.  He saw glass as an artistic medium through which he could re-connect with his family, society, and cultural roots and visually express the stories he had grown up hearing.  He has said that “native cultures are always moving forward and adapting to new materials… Representing Tlingit designs in glass felt like a logical next step to me.”

For his recent exhibition at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, the museum wrote that Singletary’s “unique interpretations of Tlingit myths and legends are visible in a plethora of stunningly beautiful objects and figurative sculptures, manifested through a complex combination of techniques, including glassblowing, sandcarving, and inlaying.  The synthesis Singletary creates through his work melds three worlds—modern art, glass, and Tlingit tradition—into a unique whole.”

Preston Singletary is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass (NY), the Mayor’s Award for Diversified Arts in Indian Art NW (Portland, OR) and an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA).  He is also represented in major museum collections such as: the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), the Seattle Art Museum (WA), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC) and the Handelsbanken (Stockholm, Sweden).  He lives and works in Seattle and can be found teaching at Pilchuck, among other institutions, and lecturing on glass around the world.

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

2018 Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA – Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight

2016 Château-Musée de Boulogne-sur-Mer, France - Group Exhibition - "D'une culture a l'autre"

2015-2016 Museum of Northwest Art, WA – Not Vanishing: Contemporary Expressions in Indigenous Art.

2009-2012 Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA – Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows. Traveled to: National Museum of the American Indian, New York,  NY; Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center,  Anchorage, AK

2010 John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI - Animal Instincts

2009 McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON – Challenging Traditions:  Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast

2005 The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA – Fusing Traditions

          Museum of Art + Design, New York, NY – Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation

2004 National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC - Our Universe

2003 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Solo Exhibition, Threshold

         Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA – Group exhibition – Fusing Traditions:

         Transformations in Glass by Native American Artists. Traveled to: Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; The

         Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Rockwell

         Museum of Western Art, Corning, NY; Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Santa Cruz

         Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, CA; Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, Anchorage,

         AK; Alaska State Museum, Juneau, AK; Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Mashantucket, CT.

 

MUSEUM AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS  

Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, Anchorage, AK

The Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA

The British Museum, London, UK

The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY

The Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Château-Musée de Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

City of Seattle, Portable Works Collection, Seattle, WA

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA

Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO

Ethnografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, MI

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Fred Jones, Jr, Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, OK

Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA

Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA

Heard Museum of Art, Phoenix, AZ

Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH

Microsoft Art Collection

Mint Museum of Art & Design, Charlotte, NC

Museum of Art + Design, New York, NY

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

Museum of History & Industry, Seattle, WA

The Museum of Natural History, Anchorage, AK

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK

Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA

Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

St. Paul’s Cathedral, Oklahoma City, OK

Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth,MN

Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA

 

AWARDS 

2018   Governor’s Arts Award – Individual, Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA

2016   National Artist Fellowship Award, Native Arts & Culture Foundation, Vancouver, WA

2013   Mayor’s Art Award for “Raising the Bar”, Seattle, WA

2010   Honorary doctorate, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

2009   National Native Artist Exchange Award, NE Foundation for the Arts

2004   1st Place Contemporary Art, Sealaska Heritage Foundation, Celebration 2004   

2003   Rakow Commission, Corning Museum of Glass, NY

2002   Purchase Award, Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle, WA

2000   Mayor's Award and 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, Indian Art NW, Portland, OR   

1999   1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, Indian Art NW,  Portland, OR; Study Grant, Washington Mutual Foundation, The Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, OR

1998   First Place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, NW, Portland OR

1996   The Jon and Mary Shirley Scholarship, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA

1995    Study Grant, Washington Mutual Foundation, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA

1988 ,90 The Glass House Goblet Competition Purchase Award

1985    Work Study Grant, The Institute of Alaska Native ArtsP

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

2009- current IslandWood Environmental School, Bainbridge Island, WA – Board of Directors

2008 Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM - Community Advisory Committee

2007-current Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA - Community Advisory Committee

2006-current Artstream Cultural Resources, Pagosa Springs, CO - Community Advisory Committee

2005-2011 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Board of Trustees and Community Advisory Committee

2000-current Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA - Board of Trustees and Community Advisory Committee