Mark Preston

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Tlingit
1960 – Present

Mark Preston (b. 1960) Mark Preston is a multidisciplinary Tlingit artist who works in a variety of media, but began studying silver carving under renowned Gitksan artist Phil Janzé while attending K’san in Hazelton, BC. He then learnt various techniques of wood carving. 

Preston recontextualizes Northwest Coast formline shapes by making precise cutouts into panels, thus turning traditional shapes into negative space. His minimalist, all-white motifs symbolize clarity, peacefulness, and open-mindedness. In this same vein, many of Preston’s pieces are purposely left untitled to allow for open interpretations and meanings. Preston cites European masters Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as early influences, although works by Picasso, Mark Rothko, and Northwest Coast artists like Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Roy Vickers, and Ted Harrison have all served to influence his more recent works. His contemporary pieces are inspired by minimalism and abstraction. 

Preston’s work resides in both private and public collections, including the Yukon Permanent Art Collection.

CV


Jewelry by Mark Preston

Preston pulls from a long history of jewelry-making on the Northwest Coast. Having learnt the art form from renowned Gitksan artist Phil Janzé, Preston challenges conventions and explores new techniques. Traditionally, jewelry along the Northwest Coast not only acted as personal adornment, but connoted social standing, lineage, and culture. After contact, when the first silver and gold metals became available, artists transferred their wood carving skills to these new materials. Given the jewelry was made with exceptional precision and skill, the artists referred to their work at “carved jewelry”. Through innovative touches that reveal his multi-disciplinary skills as an artist, Preston’s deep lines and carving methods evoke sculptural work and complement his minimalist practice.