The Nightmarec. 2001Wood (Douglas fir, red cedar, pear, apple, cherry, ebony, redwood) painted black53 3/4 × 74 5/8 × 51U-5255.2003University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Olga N. Sheldon Acquisition Trust
Martin Puryear Considered one of the preeminent sculptors of our era, Martin Puryear creates large-scale, evocative works that are often ambiguous in both form and meaning. Inspired by time spent in Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps volunteer, Puryear became interested in woodcarving and organic forms; he later expanded these interests by apprenticing to Swedish cabinet-makers and boat builders. The Nightmare, like all of his sculptures, is a beautifully designed and crafted piece whose appearance can provoke contradictory interpretations and responses. The shape, for example, has been associated with a calabash or indigenous South American drinking vessel, while its closed neck and dark patina have been linked to hand grenades and war.