sculpture: martin puryear

wood sculpture by martin puryear

“I would describe my usual working process as….trying to make coherence out of things that can seem contradictory. But coherence is not the same as resolution. The most interesting art to me retains a flickering quality, where opposed ideas can be held in tense coexistence.” – MP

Martin Puryear is an African American sculptor of wide acclaim who works largely through the medium of wood. Born in 1941 in Washington he studied in the US, volunteered in Sierra Leone, and studied in Sweden before returning to the US during a minimalist era from which his works borrow without conforming. A MOMA exhibition in 2007 celebrated a portfolio spanning the previous 4 decades. Contrasting and comparing these works displays an incredible array of wood’s sculptural possibilities in scale, form, and texture, creating in the material a kind of rainbow coalition of contrasting skin tones and textures, bone structures, muscle densities and personalitiesNew York Times. But the wood also remains a reference to a human traditional craft and retains an integrity that forces us to come to terms with the statement made in each singular piece; be they two or three dimensional, monumental or human scale, monolithic or stick like, geometric form or abstract curvature.


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