Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary says his artwork, now on display at the Anchorage Museum, is heavily influenced by his heritage. His pieces are filled with bright colors and precise etchings, with a nod to both ancient stories and modern art.
Singletary points to a "fourth dimension" in his work when he talks about how the light reacts on his art. Small pieces took up to 50 hours to create while larger ones took hundreds of hours.
“In a lot of ways the glass is fragile, but it’s strong. It has potential for living well beyond my lifetime.” Singletary said, “Egyptian glass goes back 2,000 years and beyond, so it has the potential to last a long time.”
Singletary, an artist based in Washington state, now has his first show, "Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire and Shadows," at the museum.
Singletary’s family lived in Alaska until the 1920s when his great-grandmother, a widow, left the state with her four children.
He never attended art school -- instead, he was trained on the job in Washington glass factories by other local artists.
Singletary also took a summer workshop at the world-famous Pilchuck Glass School.
He was raised hearing stories about his Tlingit heritage by his grandmother and other relatives from Southeast Alaska and as his career advanced he began to incorporate those stories into works of art.
The show depicts Singletary’s interpretations of those stories, which he points out in his work.
“One of the most well-known stories in Southeast region is the Raven that stole the sun and the moon and the stars.” Singletary said.
There are almost 50 works of art in the show, which remains at the museum until Apr. 22.
Email Rebecca Palsha