Horizons by Mark Preston
33" x 33"
Edition of 85
"Horizons Of The Past And Present is about the transformation of culture and beliefs in a society that comes from an ancient place, and moves into a new way of thinking of itself and its place in the world, which is not of its own making.
When I was a child, I often saw myself one way, while I was treated another way. As an artist, I also struggled to identify myself (and my work) with my native heritage until I was free to be who I chose to be, and felt free to express that in such a way that, although I come from two different worlds, I don't have to be either.
Living in two worlds has had its setbacks, as well as advantages. I grew up confused and didn't feel that I belonged. As I grew into adulthood I realized, however, that I could choose my own destiny, which is why in many ways the theme and style changes that my art underwent, reflected my personal growth. As an artist, I was much more explorative than I would have otherwise been. Being exposed to conversations with people from different cultures and learning their thoughts, gave me a new direction in life. I didn't have to follow any one path or set of beliefs, instead I could self-direct my life. As I became more comfortable with that idea, my work also began to change. I was free to tell my own stories, stories that were relevant to me in today's society, instead of propagating the same old stories.
Horizons Of The Past And Present reflects the essence of the past, but attempts to relate what is happening now. Traditionally, the button blanket was a form of expressing the clan symbols of the person wearing it. The button blanket told a story about the family through images that everyone in the community understood.
Over the course of several years of abstracting Northwest coast art forms, I have focused primarily on the button blanket as a theme to illustrate the idea of adapting traditional materials to more contemporary ones. In a world of changing ideals, the concept of traditional values also transforms its meaning and adapts to the new host society.
In a culture that was primarily tribal in nature and moved with the seasons, First Nations of today have become transformed through integration into a society of individuals. The resulting new culture is largely made up of individuals with a singular focus - society of singularities. Even while it is adhering to certain iconic formalities, it has become a society of blending and mixing our native culture into smaller and smaller groups of singular interpretations.
There is often a fine line now between the old world ideologies and the present day ones. That line is increasingly becoming more faint. We mix our ideas like artisan paints, creating ever evolving moods and new forms of expression."
- Mark Preston (Tenna-Tsa-Teh)