When an artist has a shape in mind: Martin Puryear...


The Matthew Marks Gallery, in New York, is a small white cube, specially designed to display Contemporary Art pieces. These days it is exhibiting a single artwork: a minimalist sculpture in a variety of woods. Its shape is certainly organic, and it looks like a plant with a bulbous root and a flower probably hidden underground. Up close it feels incredibly soft, given the wood was treated with utmost care: the artist even created a spiral movement all over the stem that emerges from the root. However, this first interpretation of the work proves to be mistaken.
Question, by Martin Puryear (2010) 
Wood: poplar, pine and ash / Measures: 229 x 278 x 88 cm
Matthew Marks Gallery
Martin Puryear (USA, 1941) is an artist interested in History, both European and American, and in the works exhibited in another nearby space belonging to the Matthew Marks Gallery, a particular shape repeats itself in all of them. Puryear confessed that his inspiration came from the "Phrygian Cap", which was used as symbol of the Resistance during the French Revolution and soon became synonym of freedom. Fan of abstraction, the artist recreates it in different materiales.
Cascade, by Martin Puryear (2013) 
Matthew Mark Gallery
Untitled, by Martin Puryear (2014)
Hardwood saplings, cordage / Measures: 443 x 376 x 132 cm
Mattew Marks Gallery
Because of this historic and political reference, we are able to have a deeper appreciation of the work itself, apart of its beauty. The shape of the cap is elevated to new meanings that go beyond its simplicity

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