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Martin Puryear

American, born 1941


Martin Puryear’s practice is dedicated to craftsmanship and traditional building techniques. Puryear, whose distinctive style has been considered a descendant of Minimalism, began studying many forms of craft in his youth; his variegated training includes carpentry, stone masonry, boat building, basketry, construction, and woodworking—many of which directly influenced Puryear when he began his artistic career in the 1970s. He is best known for his use of natural materials in creating his sculptures, including tar, rawhide, stone, wire, metals, and, most frequently, wood. His works are typically abstract and geometric; in Puryear’s words, he “makes things rather than representations of them,” and avoids references to time and place. Frequent themes in his sculpture include loss, uncertainty, and emptiness.

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