Thursday, September 16, 2010

Say hello to Trenton Doyle Hancock

Concept Design for Teardrop Pattern, 2009–2010
Image via Seattle Art Museum

Hello Trenton! I'm curious how site specific this piece was? Would you have still used the recycling theme and raindrops if this went into a sculpture park in Ohio?

It is specific in the sense that it turned out to be a perfect fit for the space. Perhaps if the piece were in Ohio I would've used more brown.

Vegan Arm, 2006
Image via James Cohan Gallery

A Better Promise references a previous painting of yours called The Bad Promise. Can you talk about the connection?

"The Bad Promise" references an ending to a story where a promise for salvation isn't upheld. In that painting, the failure to follow through is characterized by an outstretched hand, but the hand is riddled with holes. "A Better Promise" is a much lighter and more inviting piece but it still uses the motif of the holey hand.

The Bad Promise, 2008
Image via Seattle Art Museum

I don’t know if it was your intent, but when I think about your upbringing (son of a Baptist minister), the word ‘promise’ and your use of the rainbow, it’s hard for me not to think of the Bible’s Great Flood. Does that play in at all?

There is, in fact, a connection to the rainbow, the flood, the colorful plastic tops and the rain pattern. Hopefully, the flood is restaged by the public as they bring in their plastic tops in such abundance that the receptacles overflow. Maybe the piece should have been called "A Better Flood".


The Ossified Theosophied, (Aborted but Beautiful), 2005
Image via Seattle Art Museum

You’ve mentioned how you like the flexible format of comic books. I love your observation that the plastic tops in this exhibit are materially the same as toys. And like other adult males our age, we’ve talked about the importance of our childhood toys and favorite cartoons. How does your childhood continue to influence your art?

I constantly look back on my childhood, and I try to find clues as to how I got where I am. I also look for clues as to how I am to get to the next place in life. I examine the drawings that I did when I was young in order to locate the truth. The same can be said for the items we collect as children. There is a certain truth held in the impulse to collect those things. I am trying to understand what those truths are.


I think some folks might be surprised to find out that you (along with choreographer Stephen Mills and composer Graham Reynolds) developed a ballet. Did I just dream this or will Cult of Color: Call To Color be performed here in Seattle?

Yes, I did collaborate to create a ballet. Who knows. The piece could travel to Seattle one day. Dreams can come true!

Meddler, 2008
Image via James Cohan Gallery

What other projects can we look forward to from you in the near future?

I currently have a one person painting, drawing, and sculpture show at Dunn and Brown Contemporary in Dallas, Texas. The title of that show is "Work While it is Day For When Night Cometh, No Man Can Work". In January 2011, I will have a one person museum show at the University of South Florida Museum. That show is called "We Done All We Could and None of it's Good".

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Trenton Doyle Hancock's installation A Better Promise is on display at Olympic Sculpture Park's PACCAR Pavilion through March 2, 2012

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