TRANSFORMATIONS, 2011 – SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

In July 2011, Preston and his friend/colleague Joe Benvenuto installed his latest commission at the A&A Building at Seattle University.  You can see it on the new building at 12th Avenue and Marion Street on Capitol Hill.

From the plaque:

Preston Singletary (Tlingit, b. 1963)
Transformations, 2011
7.5 feet x 5.5 feet
Water jet-cut aluminum, powder coated enamel, water jet-cut flat glass, and steel
Commissioned by Seattle University

This piece is an abstract composition that highlights the flow of the lines, shapes, and methodical patterning within the Northwest Coast design system known as formline.  These design elements have been used for centuries by the culture to represent the natural world in carved and painted objects.

Here, the shapes and lines are showcased in a monumental fashion, removed from the traditional figurative portrayals of animals; this serves to highlight the concept that these elements are at the root of the design system and show that their power and beauty transcends representational composition.

The colors of this piece are derived from the traditional palette of Northwest Coast art: red and black. The yellow and blue come from the Chilkat weaving tradition, and are inspired by natural plant- and mineral-based pigments, which are used by the peoples of the Northwest Coast.

In addition to his Northwest Native cultural heritage, Singletary derives inspiration from decorative and modern art from the 1930s and 1940s, Primitivism and contemporary art.