Martin Puryear, Untitled (State II), 2014. Color softground etching with drypoint and chine collé, 38.75 x 32.75 inches. On loan to Vero Beach Museum of Art, Promised Gift of Georgia E. Welles.
Sep 4, 2021 — Jan 2, 2022
Martin L. Puryear (1941), known for his devotion to traditional craft, was born in Washington, D.C. Working in wood and bronze, among other media, his reductive technique and meditative approach challenge the physical and poetic boundaries of his materials. The African-American artist represented the United States at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Puryear studied biology before turning to art. Two years with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone in the mid-1960s were critical to his development. Living among woodworkers, weavers and potters in West Africa deepened his devotion to crafts. The African experience inspired his first etchings, made while studying printmaking at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm, in the late 1960s. His prints made between 2001 and 2014 at Paulson Bott Press (now Paulson Fontaine Press) in Berkeley, California, include his most important works in this medium. Known primarily as a sculptor, Puryear is celebrated for the elegance and refinement of his largely handmade constructions. The same qualities apply to his prints, which he creates with a similar attention to craft and technical precision.