This exhibition continued the artist’s exploration of his Native American heritage through glass sculpture. Singletary addresses the ongoing discourse between Northwest Coast Native art and contemporary art, melding culturally significant Nativeimages with the abstract, subtle forms of the Modern Art movement. Singletary “wanted to turn the tables on Modern Art” with this exhibition, responding aggressively to categorization of “primitive art” as secondary to other art historical movements. The resulting Beyond Primitivism showcases Modern forms bearing traditional Tlingit Formline design; sculptures that exist elegantly in both the Native and Modern realms.
Close study of various Modern artists including Constantin Brancusi, an artist of particular interest to Singletary, resulted in works such as Invocator of Hidden Spirits. Reminiscent of the Modernist’s groundbreaking sculpture, the soft, abstract form has been embellished and adorned with Northwest Coast design and motifs in an organic, natural manner. More than ever before, narrative has taken a primary role in this work, illustrating cohesive stories that wrap lyrically around the forms. “I feel like my whole career at this point is turning a new corner. I am branching out and into the more sculptural aspects of the work…It’s now time to begin exploring more deeply the narrative and symbolism within the work. The work evolves. With each year it seems as if I can eclipse what I have done before.”