Looking out my window at pristine snow, there are no human footprints on the forest floor. White, frosty, elemental, shadow. I can only imagine that similar images influence the spectacular work of Mark Preston.

Mark Preston’s newest body of work entitled White Space will be on display at the Hilltop Bistro, in the Yukon College Whitehorse campus from January to the end of semester in May. An opening reception is planned for Thursday, Jan. 19, from 5pm to 7pm at the Bistro.

Preston’s contemporary pieces are inspired by minimalism and abstraction. Minimalist art sets out to expose the essence of a subject by eliminating all non-essential features. The all-white motif in much of Preston’s work symbolizes peace, clarity and open-mindedness. Work is often left unnamed to encourage viewers to interpret the pieces for themselves.

Preston is a multidisciplinary artist and works in a variety of mediums. I love his architectural drawings. Believing architecture is a form of sculptural practice, he includes architectural design in his artistic repertoire. Art takes many forms and architecture is art with a practical function.

Mark Preston was born in Dawson City in 1960 and he is of Tlingit ancestry. Preston studied silver carving with Gitksan artist Phil Janze while he attended K’san in Hazelton, B.C. He also has studied wood carving techniques. Influences include Michelangelo, da Vinci, Picasso, Bill Reid and Ted Harrison to name a few.

Last year was a busy time for this outstanding Yukon artist. He had a solo show as well as a group show at the Fazakas Gallery, which is a contemporary and First Nations gallery in Vancouver. I spoke to LaTiesha Fazakas in Vancouver.

“His (Mark’s) minimalistic approach is the most successful I’ve seen,” Fazakas says.

Preston was a featured artist at the Toronto Art Fair in October. This event is a great showcase for artists, as Canadian and international collectors and dealers attend.

His work is included in the personal collection of Sara Diamond, who is the president of OCAD University, and is also herself an artist.

Recently, Preston collaborated with fellow Yukon artist Colin Alexander. The art piece, called “New Moon,” was on display at Baked Café and Bakery. Working with Alexander proved a creative way to explain what Preston’s art is all about. Alexander took a white panel of Preston’s art and painted what inspired him at the time.

“New Moon” means to help people understand Preston’s minimalist approach to First Nations Art. The two artists plan more collaboration in the future.

Preston attended the 2016 Arctic Inspiration Prize Awards Ceremony in Winnipeg in December. So many talented people come together for this great event. One of Preston’s glass works was gifted as part of the awards ceremonies. I recently saw a picture of the glass sculpture – stunning work.

Preston’s long list of accomplishments and his body of work is a wonderful testament for the Yukon, its environment, its people.

Hilltop Bistro visitors will be able to visit White Space art exhibition a few times over the months it is displayed. I know viewers will take something different away with them each time. More understanding, more appreciation of a minimalist view; the beauty of white.