Puryear is one of the most inventive artists of his generation. He has lived and worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In each place he lived, he made an effort to learn techniques from the local carpenters and craftsman of the area and translate that knowledge into his aesthetic. He first studied printmaking at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in 1967, but by the time he enrolled in the MFA program at Yale in 1968, he was a dedicated and inventive sculptor. He returned to printmaking at different times throughout his long career, and his print design reflects sculptural motifs, and one recognizes the connection between the two mediums.
Diallo exhibits a deep understanding of its materials. The incredible fuzzy surface of the central shape was achieved by flat biting the copper plate with acid that puddled and pooled in semi-controlled ways. His use of muscle through burnishing and scraping throughout the plate, including the opposing black and white orbs where the metal was polished smooth; the bright white teardrop is an actual hole sliced through the copper plate.
"Diallo" is a common name among the Fula people of West Africa and may refer to Puryear's Peace Corps years in Sierra Leone in 1964-66, suggesting a figurative translation of an abstract motif. This incredible intaglio print references past sculptural forms found in Greed's Trophy (1984) and Bearing Witness (1997). Puryear's ability to reinvent and explore motifs over time adds gravity to these invented forms, both on the surface of his prints and the expansive roundness of his sculptures.