Martin Puryear (born May 23, 1941) is an American artist known for his devotion to traditional craft. Working in wood and bronze, among other media, his reductive technique and meditative approach challenge the physical and poetic boundaries of his materials.
Born in 1941 in Washington, D.C., Martin Puryear began exploring traditional craft methods in his youth, making tools, boats, musical instruments, and furniture. After receiving a B.A. in Fine Art from the Catholic University of America in 1963, Puryear spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone where he learned local woodworking techniques. From 1966 - 1968, he studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, returning to the United States afterward to enroll in the graduate program for sculpture at Yale University. Although he discovered Minimalism at a formative period in his development, Puryear would ultimately reject its impersonality and formalism.
After earning his MFA from Yale, Puryear began teaching at Fisk University in Nashville and University of Maryland in College Park. In 1977, following a devastating fire in his Brooklyn studio, Puryear had a solo show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Shortly after he moved to Chicago...
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