For this assignment, I chose to share the video about Martin Puryear. Puryear is a wood-working artist who was born in Washington, D.C. in 1941. I felt a connection with this artist because of his preference for traditional methods of art and art that actually means something. Puryear feels that art should represent what it is and not be representative of something else. Puryear says that art can be beautiful or ugly, but you understand what it means just by looking at it. I also enjoy art of traditional methods: paintings, sculpture of rock or metal, and other art that is traditional and actually looks like something. It is difficult for me to understand art that is splotches of color on canvas or a bunch or scrap metal just welded together that looks like a giant mess of metal and not like an object or a thing.
Puryear’s artistry is unique because he uses natural materials and his own unique vision of creating each piece. When Puryear was young, he made furniture, guitars and other useful things. His work was beautiful. He loves the process of creating something, being a part of an action that has been performed for centuries to make something new and beautiful. The people who colonized the United States made furniture from wood, created fire pits from rock, carved trees to make ladders and tools. Puryear uses the same techniques to make gorgeous art. He feels his work keeps him in touch with the past by using ancient techniques that have been used for many years and creating an item, shape, sculpture or other piece that conveys new thoughts and future visions with old methods.
Puryear is fascinated by nature and natural elements. Many of his sculptures represent things that are found in nature such as a head. However, if his artistry does not look like something from nature, it is made from something in nature. Puryear made a 36 foot ladder from wood that has been displayed in the Booker T. Washington Museum, a stone sculpture that is on a hill in Northern California, and another stone sculpture made from rock harvested in China and resides in a business complex in Japan. Puryear’s art is seen and appreciated for its simple beauty all over the world.