James Cohan Gallery in New York is currently showing the recent work of Trenton Doyle Hancock in the exhibition Fear. The exhibition includes paintings, wall drawings, and a new portfolio of twenty mixed-media prints, entitled Fix, which the artist completed at the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions at Rutgers University.
Fear explores the battle between good and evil as it unfolds in the private symbolic universe of the Mounds and the Vegans. The Mounds live above ground in a color filled world and sustain themselves on Mound meat, a pink substance that allows one to experience the world of color upon consumption. The evil Vegans reside in a subterranean realm of black and white, where the two conflicting characters live, Vegan leader Betto Watchow and Vegan prophet St. Sesom. St. Sesom introduces the Vegans to color, thereby upsetting Watchow and facing his wrath. Watchow launches a full scale battle against St. Sesom, his followers, and the Mounds.
The centerpiece of the show is a grid-like arrangement of eight five foot square canvases installed on a wall painting depicting Hancock’s underworld battle. The paintings depict both Color babies and Darkness babies, some with dripping pink mound meat in the background, indicative of slaughtered Mounds. The layered works incorporate text, drawing, and collaged paper, plastic, felt, fur, and paint. The wall painting includes various sized black tear drops containing the letters F,E,A,R. Hancock’s symbolic system often reworks Biblical stories, exploring moral dilemmas through the saga of the Mounds. Each body of work furthers the narrative including scenes of birth, life, death, and even the afterlife of these mythical creatures.
Hancock received his B.F.A. from Texas A&M University and his M.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was one of the youngest artists ever to be included in the Whitney Biennial, in both 2000 and 2002. He is also the 2007 Joyce Alexander Wein award winner from The Studio Museum in New York. Hancock currently lives and works in Houston.
Fear will remain at James Cohan’s New York space until January 10, 2009.