44. Martin Puryear edited by John Elderfield.

Today, OCAC is honored to have another incredible artist, Heechan Kim (our Artist-in-Residence in Wood) give a lunch-time talk in the Centrum Studio. According to his artist statement, “[Kim] explore[s] issues of intense emotional tension, obsession, violence and sexuality through the material process of bending thin wood strips and stitching them with metal wires. These construction methods express the understanding that every human being is connected, bounded and destined to exist together.  […] When we surrender our view of distinction and containment, we allow ourselves the possibility to become something much greater.” (here) Kim’s work and particularly its attention to detail are testaments to the ongoing relevance and resiliency of woodwork as an art form and enduring craft.  Its ability to capture the viewer, not only in a visceral sense or by the maker’s evident skill, but also as a means of starting a dialog with viewers on larger sociological issues as “human coexistence in modern global society.” If you’re interested, you’re welcome to come listen to his talk today at 12:45pm in the Centrum Studio. See you there!

After looking at Kim’s work online (here), we couldn’t help see a resemblance to another great sculptor, Martin Puryear. For this week’s library pick, we’ve selected, Martin Puryear edited by John Elderfield, a book published in conjunction with the exhibition, Martin Puryear, at the Museum of Modern Art, November 4, 2007 – January 14, 2008.

John Elderfield’s essay, Martin Puryear: ideas of otherness, is a close critical review of the artist’s work, spanning the 1970s to the present. It highlights themes in his work throughout his career but also pays special attention to the concept of metamorphosis. Elderfield addresses how Puryear negotiates the limits of sculptural form and the limits of material, and that “his negotiation is, of course, a broadly cultural one that he makes it ours as well” …and this has, like Kim’s work, sociological implications: “to imagine changes in immobile things has always been, ultimately, to grapple with transformations of the self” (51).

The book also includes another fantastic essay about Puryear’s work by Michael Auping called “Artisan,” that covers the artist’s philosophy of art-making as well as talks about his process. In addition to the many high quality images of Puryear’s work, there is also an intimate interview with Richard J. Powell about the artist’s early work and how he arrived at the kind of artist he is today, a conversation that is definitely worth checking out!

If you’re already familiar with Martin Puryear’s work, this book will only strengthen your appreciation. If you’re unfamiliar with the artist, this book and his work will blow you away.

More information about Puryear (including a video clip from the Art21 series) can be found here.

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6 thoughts on “44. Martin Puryear edited by John Elderfield.

  1. Kim’s piece at the start of the post is incredible. A tree, alive and growing, is naturally sensual. To take one apart, into many pieces, and then re-assemble in such a new way, you would think it would lose the sensual quality. Instead, that piece has such fragility and secretiveness. To make wood into flesh. Remarkable.

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