Luminosity | Dan Friday, Preston Singletary, & Raven Skyriver

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 2:15 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

During the month of October, Stonington Gallery brings together three glass artists in the aptly titled show, “Luminosity”. In a region known for its remarkable glass artists, viewers are sure to recognize the work of Dan Friday (Lummi), Preston Singletary (Tlingit), and Raven Skyriver (Tlingit) through their unique artistic perspectives on the world around us and how we interact with that world. Each artist has exhibited widely and is known for key aspects of their work, and this is a special opportunity to see that work in one location.

 

All three artists speak about the importance of their community, and Dan Friday is no exception. Friday’s great-grandfather was Joe Hillaire, a carver who created a totem pole for the 1962 World’s Fair that eventually traveled to Japan. Friday also draws on the impact of his Aunt Fran James, a talented and revered weaver. Several of his glass baskets reference her importance and influence through the artwork titles. The brilliance of Friday’s artistic style is in his use of simplified shapes to visually translate the object’s key elements into glass. “Woven Bear” is an excellent example of this visual code. One of Friday’s most identifiable works are his mosaic baskets that mimic woven baskets. The undulating blocks of color give the feeling of vibrations, and it’s as if the basket is moving when the sun hits the glass. In addition to his work at Stonington, those interested in Friday’s work can see a wonderful selection at the Museum of Northwest Art in the exhibition, “Future Artifacts.” This exhibition also includes the works of Coast Salish weavers and celebrates their work alongside Friday’s glass sculptures. 


Dan Friday gained much experience working with master glass artists, including renowned artist Preston Singletary, who in turn trained with Italian master glass artists in the European glass blowing tradition. Singletary is celebrated for how he utilizes both traditional glass blowing techniques and formline design to tell Tlingit stories and connect ideas from his cultural heritage for viewers. Singletary’s work is instantly recognizable: his expertise with formline design in combination with blown and sand-carved techniques enable the sculptures to glow from within. His traveling exhibition, “Raven and the Box of Daylight,” is due to open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in early 2022 and tells the story of Raven bringing light to humankind. Locally, viewers are soon to have the opportunity to see a sculpture by Singletary and David Franklin at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Singletary’s work can be found in many major museums, including the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the Denver Art Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum. He continues to be inspired to engage the medium with new ideas, which can be seen most recently in collaborations with fellow glass artist, Raven Skyriver. 


Raven Skyriver’s inspiration is rooted in marine life that he then transforms into glass through both observation and his dedication to learning about these creatures. Growing up on Lopez Island, Skyriver felt connected to aquatic ecosystems from an early age. He also trained in the Venetian glass techniques and spent time working in William Morris’ studio. Skyriver’s work is exact, and yet filled with emotion. Skyriver spends time researching the physical attributes of each animal and the ecosystems in which they live. In addition, he is also able to capture their living qualities as if they are alive and in motion. The skin of the salmon is translucent and shimmers in the light, while the diving seal tilts its head to look up at the viewer and the walrus’ rolls fold onto one another as it seems to props itself up to peer across the room.  Skyriver’s collaborations with Singletary are a blend of two distinct and strong artistic visions. While Skyriver focuses on the interconnectedness of the fragile ecosystem. Singletary expertly shares Tlingit stories through his use of formline design.  “Coastal,” a grey whale, is a recent example of this collaboration. 


“Luminosity” is on display through October at Stonington Gallery in Pioneer Square. It is a very special opportunity to learn about glass, cultural heritage, marine ecosystems, and more. Each artist continues to push the boundaries of glass in exciting ways to communicate their artistic vision and share information to their viewers. Glass is a beloved medium, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and “Luminosity” provides an opportunity to see how three artists expertly form the material to communicate both ancestral themes and contemporary ideas.


Chloé Dye Sherpe

Chloé Dye Sherpe is a curator and art professional based in Washington State.


Through October, “Luminosity” is o view Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. at Stonington Gallery, located at 125 South Jackson Street in Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit www.stoningtongallery.com . 





   
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