Trenton Doyle Hancock: Something American: Gallery exhibition at 48 Walker St

17 September - 23 October 2020
  • Over a career spanning nearly twenty-five years, Trenton Doyle Hancock has created a singular body of visual art that exuberantly subverts and synthesizes his omnivorous influences to invent a world entirely his own. This exhibition features new paintings that demonstrate the breadth and dexterity of Hancock’s practice: explorations of never before seen corners of the Moundverse and densely layered and collaged reexaminations of Hancock’s extraordinary iconography. These works contend with American identity and cultural expression, while confronting the ever-evolving, attendant structures of white supremacy. Hancock brings these forces into his fantastical universe in order to grapple with them—this metaphorical space, while it invites parallels to our own, is entirely under the artist’s control. In this exhibition, the artist takes us on a deeply personal journey through the multivalent facets of the self. Hancock’s artmaking becomes a strategy of radical autobiography and a way of seeing, of looking closely both at the world outside and deep within oneself.

  • The Exchange

  • Central to the exhibition are several paintings depicting an imagined meeting between the artist’s alter ego Torpedo Boy, a black superhero, and the buffoonish Klansmen that populated Philip Guston’s paintings.

     

    Guston often spoke of the 'ghosts' in one’s studio, voices of your predecessors that require exorcism. At some point, you have to stop the chase and confront those voices. I grew up in Paris, Texas hearing stories from my Grandmother, my Mother about lynchings lynchings that were so heinous they were newsworthy on a national level and made the NY Time in the 1800’s and early 20th Century. I felt I had to go back and really look at this head on, and go into the crowd and watch the tens of thousands that would gather. That prompted me to really dig into this series and turn it into something that was more than just two cartoon characters meeting up.”¹

     

     

  • “The more you dissect the image, the more it becomes fraught with historic tension and with my own history as...

    “The more you dissect the image, the more it becomes fraught with historic tension and with my own history as a painter. It keeps feeding itself as an image. The item that is exchanged between them changes the narrative each time.”

     

    - Trenton Doyle Hancock

     

  • 'The code switching painting is centered around the idea of Double Consciousness—W. E. B. Du Bois's idea that the black...

    "The code switching painting is centered around the idea of Double ConsciousnessW. E. B. Du Bois's idea that the black man in America lives in two worlds. It's like reaching for a star, the abstraction of the American Dream.

    Carved out of the bodies of Torpedo Boy and the Klansman is their dialogue. It's this back and forth in terms of their bodies to get that mechanism of understanding and forward movement into a painting. It challenges me to be inventive in a way where the text is de-prioritized but is nonetheless important because once you see it there it becomes of utmost importance. This idea of the exchange or a dialogue is just thatit's how to make painting move beyond its primary functions, as receptacles of symbols that are just overlaid one another, and move it into the space of where it's overlapping with the language of graphic novels and therefore hopefully moving the form forward."

     

    - Trenton Doyle Hancock

  • THE MOUNDVERSE

  • 'The glossy areas aren't just acrylic paint it's actually raised objects. You get closer and realize these are plastic tops...

    "The glossy areas aren't just acrylic paint it's actually raised objects. You get closer and realize these are plastic tops from water bottles, from detergent bottles that have been collected and then glued into the piece. It’s an exciting thing for me, to take painting away from a very two-dimensional flat functionality into a space where it becomes a receptacle for culture. And also a receptacle for a kind of hierarchy that dissects how class and meaning are embedded within objects, even everyday objects. So there's a democracy that's represented within the work that best speaks to who I am, and how I perhaps move through space and my world view."

     

    - Trenton Doyle Hancock

  • SELF PORTRAITS

  • "The portraits are a way for me to broadcast a condition of sorts. The condition of being trapped in a body, having to exist in a body that’s going to die. I was thinking about mortality, twisting my body into cartoonish squash-and-stretch positions—but a real human can only stretch so far. The limbs are going to break. It’s going to compromise the body. They started as diaristic documents of traumatic personal experience, family deaths, and failed relationships. I was in an existential place. I was able to imagine myself as a projection, an avatar, a character of consequence."

     

    - Trenton Doyle Hancock

  • ABOUT THE ARTIST

  • For almost two decades, Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City, OK) has been constructing his own fantastical narrative that...

    For almost two decades, Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City, OK) has been constructing his own fantastical narrative that continues to develop and inform his prolific artistic output. Part fictional, part autobiographical, Hancock’s work pulls from his own personal experience, art historical canon, comics and superheroes, pulp fiction, and myriad pop culture references, resulting in a complex amalgamation of characters and plots possessing universal concepts of light and dark, good and evil, and all the grey in between.

     

    Learn more  →

  • ALSO ON VIEW

  • trenton doyle hancock presents the moundverse, chapter 2: veganism SEP 17 - OCT 17

    trenton doyle hancock presents the moundverse, chapter 2: veganism

    SEP 17 - OCT 17

    enter viewing room
  • FURTHER READING

     

    BOMB Magazine "Interview: Trenton Doyle Hancock" by Bill Kartapoloulos READ HERE

    ARTFORUM "1000 WORDS: TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK" BY IKECHUKWU ONYEWUENYI AND TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK READ HERE

    4COLUMNS "TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK" by Aruna d'souza READ HERE

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    ¹Hancock, Trenton Doyle, in Philip Guston Now, Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, and New York, D.A.P., 2020; 280 pages.