Library Street Collective is pleased to present Hail Mary, a solo exhibition of new works by Brooklyn-based artist Tyrrell Winston, opening Saturday, January 15, 2022. Originally from California, Winston is a self-taught artist whose career began with commentary centered on metropolitan life. Through obsessive collecting, organizing, and reconfiguring objects, his artwork manifested into sculptures that solely featured discarded material such as worn basketballs and left behind cigarette butts. Yet, the conceptual framework delved deeply into the complexities of memory, nostalgia, and the permanence of energy within the collected pieces.
Continuing with similar themes, Hail Mary consists of new works from his Punishment Paintings series and his well-known basketball sculpture series entitled Skewers. The Skewers works are assemblages featuring linearly placed discarded basketballs, linked in predetermined compositions. Winston collects the basketballs and preserves the disfigured shapes in which he finds them. Once gathered together, the morphed spherical shapes take on a choral nature, collaboratively bringing forth stories of their past—embedded histories that have since become abstracted, yet linger as broad documentation of human existence.
Similar to his Skewers series, Winston’s Punishment Paintings call on associations we make to objects, and the addition and subtraction of value we place on material culture. With the Punishment Paintings, he’s shifting from his previous bodies of work, which consisted mostly of found items. Now delving into the realm of painting, Winston uses his work to build a stronger bridge between art history and sports, challenging the viewer to understand larger ideas within the abstracted works. The series began as a result of performance pieces he created previously, where he altered one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia to challenge value systems within material culture. With the Punishment Paintings, Winston takes the concepts much further. Continuing with signatures as the focal point, he reproduces the names of familiar athletes, repetitively, and abstracts the names to further examine sports and celebrity culture. Although he fixates on specific athletes, paying particular attention to individuals who have become controversial in the public eye at some point in their career, with this body of work Winston chooses to focus more intently on questioning and critiquing our obsession with athletic, celebrity, and material culture, and examine what we perceive to be the inherent value within inanimate objects.
When referencing the Punishment Paintings, Winston remarks, “Within the performance of creating these, there is a level of toying with and touching immortality. As a society, we look up to these athletes—as flawed as some of them might be—as immortal and that’s one of the things we’re drawn to. We’re drawn to the legacy, to superhuman accomplishments. In desecrating that, they take on a new form of authorship and there is a lot of power in that gesture.”
Multiple questions are raised when examining these topics. How does the value change when signatures are replicated by a different hand? How is value affected when signatures are vandalized? What role does this play in the individual identities of the athletes, and how does this reproduction, and subsequent alteration lead viewers to question the reverence of athletes and heroism of celebrities?
Winston’s interests in sports don’t simply reside in his life-long fascination; he also believes in a strong correlation between artists and athletes. Both careers potentially begin and navigate consistent preparation, always working toward mastery. Ultimately, the greatest career successes land individuals in situations of vulnerability and positions of judgment, while flailing at the whim of audiences. Through each new series, or body of work, artists continue to throw themselves into new situations, in hopes of completing their Hail Mary passes.
Tyrrell Winston, Hail Mary will be on display at Library Street Collective from January 15 through March 3, 2022.
Used basketballs, liquid plastic, steel, epoxy
72h x 92w in