A New Creature #1, I Don't Pretend to Love You, 2013
Acrylic and mixed media with plastic additions on collaged canvas
152.4 x 152.4 cm
60 x 60 in
60 x 60 in
Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City, USA) has, since childhood, been interested in issues of morality and ethics, especially those defined by Christian beliefs. He grew up in an all American household governed by these ideals and over a lifetime has developed his own parallel (sometimes contradictory) value system incorporating his love of toys and the narratives played out by comic book characters. What began simply in his youth necessitated by a desire to manage a seemingly endless amount of resources, questions and life information, has continued as a grand narrative into adult life, pulling in a deepening understanding of life's thematic complexities, current events and existential conundrums which have come to form the complex narrative basis for Hancock’s paintings, drawings, murals, theatrical performances and film. This, combined with constant inspiration drawn from classical comic book imagery, pop art and American cinema (especially the horror genre), as well as the aesthetic of classic prints (Durer, Goya, Daumier, Kathe Kollwitz, etc.), creates Hancock’s unique approach to collaged painting. 'A New Creature #1, I Don’t Pretend to Love You' continues Hancock’s ongoing grand saga portraying the birth, death, afterlife and dream-like states of a range of characters. This saga is centred on the opposing races of the Mounds (half-animal, half-plant like creatures) and their aggressors, the Vegans. These creatures exist in a fictional universe governed by two god-like spirit energies: Loid (a stark, stern, paternal energy characterised by black-and-white bands of words and worshipped by the Vegans) and Painter (a colourful, lenient, maternal balancing energy). In Hancock’s narrative, these two forces were separated around 50,000 years ago. In Hancock’s new body of work, however, which Hancock describes as a “new beginning”, the storyline is shifted, and the two opposing forces of Loid and Painter are re-joined to form a new being, Ploid. Hancock explains that the new hybrid creature at the centre of this work can be understood retrospectively as one of the beings born from this merger, or Big Bang. Also significant in the piece is the evocative tile motif – recurring across many of Hancock’s paintings – based on the tile floor that his grandmother had in her house in Paris, Texas, where Hancock grew up, of which he was reminded a few years ago again when visiting the bathroom at a graduate student’s house at Cornell University and noticing that it featured the exact same tiles. The story of the central Mound-like form and emerging figures originally came from a childhood memory, in which a large snapping turtle appeared on the porch and Hancock’s mother, who is very superstitious, had Hancock’s stepfather kill it. Hancock says he remembers the hissing and screams from the turtle as it died, and here he represents it reborn.
iMoCA, Mound at Large: Trenton Doyle Hancock, January-March 20, 2014