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PRESTON SINGLETARY Works in Bronze, Paper & Glass Presented by Stonington Gallery October 2013


PRESTON SINGLETARY: Works in Bronze, Paper & Glass October 3 - 31, 2013 Stonington Gallery is proud to present a different look at the work of renowned Tlingit artist Preston Singletary. Known around the world for his exquisite works in glass that bring the characters and myths of the Tlingit people to life, this exhibition brings to light a side of Singletary that is not often seen: his 2D works and his bronzes. We choose to focus on works that show the mastery of Singletary’s designs and his vision of what contemporary formline art can be. Also presented is a selection of his Tlingit Glass Basket series, based on the traditional baskets woven by the Tlingit women of Southeast Alaska for millennia. All work in this catalog is for sale, unless otherwise noted. Please contact the gallery with questions and for more information.


Stonington Gallery 125 South Jackson Street Seattle, WA 98104 art@stoningtongallery.com | www.stoningtongallery.com 206.405.4040

All works by Preston Singletary and Preston Singletary Inc. Photography by Russell Johnson. Select photography by Ashley Genevieve. Design and select text by Sarra Scherb. Other text from Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows published by University of Washington Press and Museum of Glass, Tacoma., and Preston Singletary. (c) Stonington Gallery 2013


Works in Bronze: The Family Story Totem A fantastic story has been passed down through contemporary Tlingit artist Preston Singletary’s family for generations; that of his great grandmother, Susie, and the bear cub she kept as a pet. Inspired by the tale, Singletary designed a totem pole to honor and remember this charming and wholly Northwest story. Though he has touched on the story in past works, this “Family Story Totem” in bronze is a definitive masterwork that combines Singletary’s vision, experimental nature and design prowess. Great grandmother Susie, depicted as a young girl, is the primary character on this pole. She stands with a copper in her hands, a shield-shaped object that was used by the Tlingit people as a form of money and wealth. A traditional woven blanket rests around her shoulders, and she stands on a richly carved bentwood box, which would have held her family’s most precious belongings. On her head is her clan hat, with three rings denoting a high status that comes with hosting many potlatches. And perched on Susie’s hat is the bear cub, with a mischievous smile, along for the ride.

Family Story Totem | Limited Edition Cast Bronze | 101”h x 28”w x 18”d


The Story They went out into the woods, those uncles. They were out gathering food. That’s when they came across a bear out there in the woods. They shot that bear, but what they didn’t know was that it was a mother bear that came in between the uncles and the cubs. That is what happened. They shot that bear and then they saw the cubs. They took those cubs back to the village Douglas. That is what they called it at that time. That is where my great grandmother lived. She was called Susie Johnson. She was a young girl then. She liked that bear cub that the uncles brought there. She wanted that bear cub as her pet. Her parents wanted her to be happy so they let her keep that bear cub at home. She kept it at home and raised it like one might have a dog. My great grandmother, Susie, loved that bear! What a thing to have a grizzly bear for a pet! She would get food for that bear and feed it, and take care of it. She made a bed for that bear and it lived there with the family.

There was a woman who was Russian. There were a lot of Russians there. She made taffy and would sell it in the streets. When she sold it in the streets, the bear would smell the taffy. That bear loved the taffy that it would get from my great grandmother. Every time that Russian woman would go through the street with that taffy, the bear would smell it. After a while Susie wanted to get that bear some more taffy, so she went to get some berries from the fields at the base of the mountains. She took those berries back to the village. She had those berries that she sold for money to buy taffy. That’s how she got taffy for that bear. After a while that bear got big. Too big to keep around the house. The bear was getting too dangerous and big to keep. So her uncles took it back to the woods. They left that bear in the woods so it wouldn’t hurt anyone in the village. She cried when they took that bear away. She cried, but after a while she knew why the uncles took that bear away. Because it was getting too big. Even after it was gone, she cried sometimes. My great grandmother loved that bear. -Preston Singletary


The “Family Story Totem� pole was carved over the course of a year into a large log of red cedar by collaborator David Svenson. Molds were then taken of the carving to produce a plaster version for further casting in bronze and glass. This brand new monumental bronze, produced by Bronzesmith Fine Art Foundry, is one of an edition of 10.

The pole is roughed out in wood.

Covering the wood totem in plaster to make a mold.

The bear cub and hat begin to take shape.

The mold is revealed. It can now be cast in bronze.


Raven Steals the Moon The myth of Raven stealing the sun and moon and releasing them into the sky is one that has resonated throughout Singletary’s glass career. In the myth, a great chief has locked the sun and moon away in a box, and Raven is determined to steal them. Through trials and clever ruses he manages to unlock the box, grips the sun and moon in his beak, flies out the smoke hole and into the sky. Too hot to carry for long, he drops both sun and moon as he flies, and they stay in the sky to bring warmth and light to the world. Singletary has created a number of memorable works in glass celebrating this myth, showing an upturned Raven’s head with the orb of the sun in his beak. He has completed his exploration of this subject in glass, and now turns--for the first time--to rendering it in bronze. “Raven Steals the Moon” features a bronze Raven in formline design with a cast glass moon held in his beak.

Raven Steals the Moon | Limited Edition Cast Bronze & Cast, Sandblasted Glass on Base | 30”h x 10”w x 10”d


Works on Paper Singletary is a Tlingit of the Eagle moiety--one of two tribal societal groups--and a member of the family house group of Kaagwaantaan. His clan’s symbols are Killer Whale, Brown Bear, Eagle and Wolf, and his group owns these symbols and the rights to create and display them. Wanting to utilize these symbols and to transfer the traditional formline design to his works in glass, the artist realized that he had to first better understand how those designs worked. Therefore, in 1998 Singletary began to study the visual language of formline design. Over the next decade, he learned from and collaborated with a veritable who’s who of contemporary artists, including Marvin Oliver (Quinault/Isleta Pueblo), Duane Pasco, Steve Brown, Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth), Gregg Blomberg and David Svenson. The prints in this section are the outcome of those years of study. His clear, clean formline is presented without his signature glass, the better to display his deft hand and balanced composition. Adding one or two series of prints to his portfolio per year, Singletary continues to experiment and deepen his mastery over this complex, ancient design system.


Tlingit Box Front Triptych | Limited Edition Serigraphs | Left and Right: 19”h x 15.25”w each | Center: 19”h x 24”w


Left: Eagle and Killer Whale Limited Edition Serigraph 30”h x 12”w

Above: Shark Paddle, Tri-Color Paddle, Bi-Color Paddle Limited Edition Serigraphs - Sold Separately 30”h x 11”


“Formlines are the essence of a Northwest Coast image. The painted lines of sw which are pierced by the cut-through negativ The concept of formlines has been the foundation of this a -Steve

Untitled Abstract Limited Edition Serigraph 24”h x 22”w


welling and diminshing thickness form a net or web of positive design elements, ve areas within a given design representation. art form for millennia, yet it still retains energy and vitality...� Brown

Killerwhale Canoe Limited Edition Serigraph 12�h x 30�w


Summon the Animal Spirits Limited Edition Serigraph 15”h x 22”w


Octopus and Killer Whale Limited Edition Serigraph 15”h x 22”w


Killer Whale Limited Edition Serigraph 22”h x 15”w

Eagle Limited Edition Serigraph 22”h x 15”w


Untitled Limited Edition Serigraph 15”h x 22”w


Works in Glass

Tlingit basket-making is one of the most sophisticated, time-consuming and elegant weaving traditi baskets wasn’t enought work already, Tlingit women also wove complex patterns into the design. S and durability of their forms. They bring Tlingit basket traditions into a modern context and show h

Set of Five Tlingit Glass Baskets and Shelf | Blown and Sandblasted Glass | 11.5”h x 55.5”w x 14”d


ions in the world. As if collecting, stripping, soaking and plaiting strips of cedar bark into water-tight Singletary’s “Tlingit Glass Basket� series is a tribute to the delicacy of these designs and the strength how these patterns have looked like contemporary art all along.


After the glass is blown and annealed, the pattern of the basket can be laid out using thin strands of tape. Singletary’s assistants are shown below, masking out designs and sandblasting through the layers of glass to create the textured “woven” look of the baskets (right).

Large Amber Basket with Black Design | Blown and Sandblasted Glass | 17.5”h x 12”w x 12”d


Left to Right: Brown Tlingit Burden Basket with Black Rim, Golden Tlingit Basket with Tan Design, Smoky Brown Tlingit Basket with Diamond Design , Tall Navy Tlingit Burden Basket with Black Design (Sold), Brown Tlingit Basket with Red Rim. Facing page: Steel Blue Tlingit Glass Basket with Brown Lip | Blown and Sandblasted Glass


Red Huckleberry Tlingit Glass Basket with Black Lip | Blown and Sandblasted Glass | 7.75”h x 9.5”d

Lake Blue Tlingit Glass Basket with


Red Lip | Blown and Sandblasted Glass | 8.75”h x 10.38”d

Fawn Tlingit Glass Basket with Gray Lip | Blown and Sandblasted Glass | 11.25”h x 11.50”d


ABOUT THE ARTIST: Preston Singletary’s work in glass melds Northwest Native art with the best European glassblowing traditions. Throughout his 30+ years of glass blowing experience, he has also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters by working with Italian legends, as well as the young guns of Seattle’s vibrant glass scene. He has expanded his exploration of his Tlingit heritage to include works produced in bronze and limited edition prints featuring his formline designs. Artwork by Preston Singletary (Tlingit) has been collected by 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). In 2009, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA launched a major mid-career survey of his work titled Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows. He has collaborated with other Stonington artists, including recent work with Joe David and David Franklin. Photo by Julien Capmeil

ABOUT THE GALLERY: Stonington Gallery exhibits the finest Northwest Coast artwork by contemporary artists. For almost forty years the gallery has exhibited carvings, sculpture, prints, paintings and jewelry from artists who represent the best in both traditional and cutting-edge design. Visit us in Pioneer Square, home of Seattle’s First Thursday Art Walk, or browse our collections at our website.


Stonington Gallery 125 S Jackson St Seattle, WA 98014 www.stoningtongallery.com

Preston Singletary at Stonington Gallery  

Works in Bronze, Paper and Glass. 2013 Exhibition.

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