Friday, November 16, 2018
Raven and the Box of Daylight
Preston Singletary at Museum of Glass
by Alec Clayton
“Wealth Eagle Rattle” blown glass, hot-sculpture and hand-carved glass, cedar bark, by Preston Singletary, photo courtesy Russell Johnson
In addition to stunning artwork, the exhibition includes multi-media immersive storytelling in which the Tlingit story unfolds during the visitor’s experience.
Like the best of Northwest Indian artists, Singletary’s work blends the traditional art of his tribal ancestors with the innovative methods and aesthetic principles born of contemporary art movements, in his case the Pacific Northwest glass art movement. He studied glass art with Seattle area artists Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni, and he studied in Europe, where he learned the methods of Lino Tagliapietra and other European masters. His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal Spirits and shamanism with blown glass and sand-carved Tlingit designs.
Raven and the Box of Daylight is the Tlingit story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun. This story holds great significance for the Tlingit people. The exhibition features a dynamic combination of artwork, storytelling, and encounter, where the Tlingit story unfolds during the visitor’s experience.
Tlingit objects were traditionally used to show wealth and tell stories by representing elements of the natural world, as well as the histories of individual families. By drawing upon this tradition, Singletary’s art creates a unique theatrical atmosphere in which the pieces follow and enhance the exhibition narrative. Art objects and exhibition text are supported by audio and video elements, including recordings by storytellers, music, recordings of Pacific Northwest coastal sounds, and a backdrop of shadows and projected images
Singletary’s blown-glass animal figures such as “White Raven,” are classical in their simplicity and elegance and include carved designs in the Tlingit tradition. His baskets and other containers combine simple textural contrasts and geometric designs. The human and animal figures on the title piece, “Raven and the Box of Daylight,” cast lead crystal and glass, are like totem figures only shorter and more compact. These works of art and the stories they illustrate should provide for a wonderfully enlightening visit to Museum of Glass.
Raven and the Box of Daylight, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., through September 2, 2019, $5-$15, free to members, free Third Thursday, Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St. Tacoma, (866) 468-7386 http://museumofglass.org.