Hibernian Testosterone 2018
Painted cast aluminum, American cypress
57 × 141 × 44½ inches; 145 × 358 × 113 cm

This colossal pair of antlers rendered in stark white belongs to the Irish elk, an extinct species of giant deer once common across Ice Age Europe and parts of Asia. The greatest feature of this immense creature was its antlers, which Puryear has reproduced at actual size, spanning almost twelve feet. Scientists believe the toll of growing ever larger and stronger antlers to prove masculine prowess in ritualized combat ultimately contributed to the Irish elk’s evolutionary demise. The title Hibernian Testoterone refers to Hibernia, the ancient Roman name for Ireland, where fossilized remains of the Irish elk have been found preserved in peat bogs. Mounted on an inverted wooden cross, the sculpture challenges traditional symbols of masculinity and religion.

<p><em>Hibernian Testosterone</em> in progress at the artist’s studio, 2018</p>

Hibernian Testosterone in progress at the artist’s studio, 2018

<p><em>Hibernian Testosterone</em> in the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2019</p>

Hibernian Testosterone in the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2019