Martin Puryear

Multiple Dimensions

Exhibition Website

May 27 2016 - Sep 5 2016

Martin Puryear (b. 1941) is widely celebrated for his elegant but playful sculptures and his devotion to craft. His drawings and prints are less well known, but they are equally essential to the artist’s studio practice. Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions includes more than fifty drawings and prints as well as twelve sculptures—many borrowed from the artist and never displayed before—and offers an unprecedented look into Puryear’s inspirations, methods, and transformative process.

Puryear was born and raised in Washington, DC, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1977 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Several drawings and a maquette in the exhibition relate to his major outdoor sculpture at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington called Bearing Witness. The exhibition also features fourteen works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection, including a portfolio of woodcuts called Cane, and a maior wood sculpture called Bower.

Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions traces the artist’s career from his student days to the present. Several drawings are from his formative years with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone (1964–66), where he was inspired by the region’s plants, animals, buildings, and people. Since then, Puryear has returned to many of these themes, experimenting with scale, materials, and varying levels of abstraction.

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions   , explores the clean elegance of minimalism and the simplicity of traditional materials in Puryear’s work across media. Handsomely illustrated with nearly 120 color plates that demonstrate the evolution of Puryear’s ideas between drawings, prints, and sculptures, "this beautiful volume draws back the curtain on the methodology of this important and enigmatic artist".    

  • American
  • Contemporary
  • Martin Puryear

Exhibition Venues & Dates