Joel Mesler

Untitled (Winner)

Pigment on linen
65 x 84 inches

Located in Owner’s Club

What does it mean to win in contemporary society? Is it scoring the touchdown, getting the promotion, playing the lucky hand? If you take first place, can others win, too? Does individual grit and determination create winners, or does teamwork and community?

Untitled (Winner) asks us these questions, prodding at the unmatched feeling of victory. The word “winner” is spelled out in gold letters that jiggle across this canvas, gleaming and winking back at us when the light hits them just right. Six silhouetted bears shimmy around them, recalling the peace and love of the Woodstock generation. While the bears may be understood as back-up dancers who are celebrating someone else’s success—someone more competitive, stronger, harder working—they may also be the winners themselves.

Joel Mesler’s paintings infuse text, images, and patterns with nostalgia, popular culture, and personal memories. The resulting artworks often shed new light on cultural phenomenon by complicating a simple story, phrase, or symbol. By mixing different visual elements together, Mesler creates new meanings that allow images to speak to us and change with us over time.

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