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Exhibition at Schantz Galleries presents works by Dante Marioni and Preston Singletary
Dante Marioni and Preston Singletary.

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.- Schantz Galleries is presenting an exhibition of works by two contemporary artists working in glass. Having worked together on and off over the past 30 years, and maintained a friendship, the two men are each masters of their techniques and have developed extremely different thematic concerns. Each in their own time has studied and then taught their specialized techniques.

Glassblowing is by nature a team endeavor, members moving in often-wordless harmony towards a single goal. Glass artists are the conductors, sometimes physically participating but always orchestrating the various participants around their vision. Though the production process requires a skilled and trusted team, the creative process is more often an individual one. When two creative forces come together in collaboration, however, a deep union of their spirits can blossom. Dante Marioni and Preston Singletary, friends and colleagues since high school, have periodically teamed up on collaborative work over the past seven years. This is more than just a marriage of prodigious technical talent and diverse aesthetics, it is a collective honoring of two artistic lights resulting in a sublime body of work.

Marioni and Singletary’s synergy grows out of certain philosophical commonalities. Both express their reverence for nature with graphic or stylized representations. "Marioni's leaf vessels are elegantly elongated forms whose delicate veining is captured through fine reticello or striking cane work patterns. Singletary’s spirit animals, soul catchers, and glass baskets pay homage to his Tlingit ancestry through economy of form and refined Northwest Coast formline design. Though employing different styles and techniques, both artists convey the essence of their subjects instead of providing direct reproductions. Color is also an evocative tool for both artists, though their palettes differ. Marioni uses translucent purples, sparkling blues, shimmering reds, and luminous greens to impart the innate characters of a leaf. Singletary calls upon earthy reds, rich golds, and deep azures to conjure flora and fauna and suggest the land, sea, and sky upon which they reign.

Singletary uses his glass making skills to connect with his native heritage, translating Tlingit cultural traditions of Chilkat basket-weaving, stone, and wood working into a contemporary medium that bridges new audiences to traditional narratives. In Marioni’s hands, ancient and primitive forms are completely metamorphosed. In his African Gourd, an archetypal shape is translated into a sleek vessel, an opaque container with primitive markings is transformed into a diaphanous surface with stylized graphics, and a utilitarian object becomes an exquisite work of art.

The extraordinary amalgamation of these viewpoints and aesthetics is visually arresting—merging Marioni’s graceful forms, delicate cane patterning, and luminous surfaces with Singletary’s sand-carving technique, Tlingit mythical designs, and deep earthy colorations. Adornments on Marioni’s sleek vessels are traditionally rare and, when existent, clean and streamlined. To their artistic collaboration, Singletary brings the addition of blown glass figural and animal elements. Instead of delicate spherical handles, two black wolves (a symbol of a Tlingit clan) stand upon the shoulders of a graceful vase, melding Venetian and Tlingit traditions in a singular and striking association.

Dante Marioni and Preston Singletary met as teenage boys, when life was about playing music and having fun. Today, each has forged a prodigious career in the field of glass art and gained notoriety for their distinctive skills and styles. With their artist collaboration comes a revival of their youthful camaraderie, along with an egoless openness to the creative process and receptivity to the interchange of ideas. In both their collaborative and individual work, Dante Marioni and Preston Singletary embody both the cooperative nature of glassmaking and the individualism of the creative spirit.

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