In these paintings, Hancock revisits an earlier work titled Step and Screw!, extracting and enlarging graphic images onto ink and paper collaged onto canvas. In this work, Torpedo Boy peers through a crack in the door at the lurking Klansman. This moment is laced with dread, suggesting that the Klansman, and the racism he embodies, is still outside the door, and in fact has been there all along. In the other, the Klansman hands Torpedo Boy a lightbulb, villain and hero facing off in this familiar episode of exchange. Hancock often uses plays in scale to rearticulate and revisit significant narratives vignettes and characters from his ongoing Moundverse saga—each subsequent iteration allowing for formal experimentation and the development of new layers of meaning and symbolism.
Hancock’s black and white palette strips the formal and narrative elements in these works down to their studs to create paintings of pure graphic intensity. This binary palette is also suggestive of the oppositional, universal forces embodied within the characters of Torpedo Boy and the Klansman—good and evil, Black and white, light and dark—yet leaves space for all the grey in between.