PP 2, printer's proof outside of the edition of 40 Martin Puryear (American, b.1941) is renowned for his sculptures depicting organic, suggestive forms that reference craft making, and are rife with specific cultural associations. Puryear was born in Washington, D.C. and proved himself adept in woodworking at a young age, constructing several wooden objects, including a guitar and a canoe. Puryear attended Catholic University and intended to study biology, but switched his major to painting halfway through his college years. After college, he was inspired by the woodworking and craftsmanship he encountered on a Peace Corps assignment in Sierra Leone; later while studying printmaking at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art, he found himself again attracted to the basket weaving of locals in Sweden and Norway. Building on this interest in craft, he decided to study sculpture at Yale University, and graduated with an M.F.A. in 1971. Puryear spent the next few years teaching, receiving increased critical recognition for his works in tar, wood, wire, stone, and metal, which marry craftsmanship with abstracted, organic forms in contemplative works alluding to specific emotions, objects, and cultural contexts. In 1989, he won the São Paolo Biennial Grand Prize, which secured his international fame as a sculptor. Puryear has been honored with the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Award, and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture. He has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Puryear currently lives and works in New York.
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