New York

Martin Puryear

McKee Gallery

For his latest exhibition Martin Puryear made four extraordinary sculptures. Sometimes painted black and sometimes tarred, these wooden vessels all had subliminal power, seeming like props from a mystery play while making uncanny allusions to the sacred and the profane.

Confessional, 1996–2000, for example, is composed partly of wire mesh, with the piece's billowing empty shape suggesting a place for a father figure within its structure, and a wooden platform providing a place upon which a confessor—implicitly, the viewer—may kneel. Holes in a wooden divider between the platform and the sculpture's interior would allow for conversation between the two, but neither speaker would see the other. The mesh, covered with tar—are both conjectural players tarred by guilt?—makes the form at once semitransparent and ominous and also gives the piece a painterly density. Structure and surface integrate—the

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