Martian Puryear, admires the labor of working purely with one's hands; I think that he responds to art of other cultures because it is based on a level of craft that has been forgotten in American culture, which is human labor without the use of machines and other technological shortcuts. He also seems to be greatly interested in contrasts and balances since these are themes, which tend to prevail in his work. He likes to place his sculpture in natural areas, which suggests to me that it's likely his inspiration comes from nature as well; his works often invoke plant or animal associations due to their form, also suggesting that these influence him.
After viewing and reading about many of Puryear's artworks, I have come to find that contemporary sculpture does not always rely on representation of recognizable forms; this is something I was realizing before, but now that I understand the meanings behind such sculptures, I can now begin to understand them.
I am very interested in Puryear's combination of materials, such as tar, wire mesh and wood; the finished pieces constructed in this manner, seem to me to be made of unrecognizable materials. I have never seen tar used in art before, and therefore when I see a piece constructed of, or coated with, tar I am left puzzled as to the material, and subsqeuntually the construction. I also find this just an amazing contrast to most wooden forms, which are usually quite obvious as to how they were made and what's holding them together. Many of his forms are very organic in appearance, but at the same time they are delicate and flowing, such as The Spell. I really enjoy looking at these curvy, flowing objects. Although much of his work is quite solid,