Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, lives in Houston)
Flood O Rusti, 2002
Mixed media on felt
The richly layered work of Trenton Doyle Hancock defies simple categorization. Part Texas tall tale and part autobiographical epic, Hancock's mixed media and felt paintings are abstract yet narrative, personal yet universal, and above all, absolutely unique. Hancock uses typically marginalized materials such as felt, fake fur, plastic tops, buttons, and acrylic paints to create works that address his experiences of social marginalization as an African-American. These "disposable" materials are employed in developing Hancock's wildly various iconography that includes random letters and a cast of characters (including alter egos for the artist). In Flood O Rusti (an anagram of "studio floor"), the remnants of past works and other odds and ends on the artist's studio floor have been given a new life as a pastiche of Hancock's development as an artist and the history of his highly imaginative world. Harkening back to the narrative paintings of Jacob Lawrence and the collages of Romare Bearden, Flood O'Rusti reminds us that the most unlikely of materials can give voice to an extraordinary vision.
Hancock was included in the past two Whitney Biennials (where he was the youngest ever to participate) and has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Skowhegan School in Maine. He has also had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and his work has been included in several important group shows, including "Freestyle" at the Studio Museum in Harlem.