What's Coming - Skin and Bones

by Shannon Bowman

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing | September 11 - December 31, 2015 @ Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach

For almost two decades, Trenton Doyle Hancock has developed an epic narrative surrounding the “Mounds” and a cast of colorful—and often not so colorful—characters who populate a wildly fantastic, invented landscape.  The artist’s use of vivid imagery and mythology has not only earned him national and international recognition, but has also revealed a fascination with the foundation of his practice.  What emerges upon further examination is a wide-range of influences including comics, graphic novels, cartoons, music, and film. While Hancock’s paintings have become the focal point for investigation, his drawings–both discrete and monumental–have not been explored in depth before now.


Skin & Bones is the first in depth examination of Hancock’s extensive body of drawings, collages, and works on paper. Comprehensive in scope, this survey will include works from 1998 to 2014, ostensibly chronicling the foundation for the artist’s prolific career. Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is organized by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Anonymous, Brad and Leslie Bucher, Burning Bones Press, Sara Paschall Dodd, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Cullen Geiselman, James Cohan Gallery, Lester Marks, Judy and Scott Nyquist, Lea Weingarten, Peter and Linda Zweig and donors to CAMH's Major Exhibition Fund. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc.


Born in 1974 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and raised in Paris, Texas, Hancock earned his BFA from Texas A&M University, Commerce, and his MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia. Hancock’s prints, drawings, and collaged-felt paintings work together to tell the story of the Mounds—a group of mythical creatures that are the tragic protagonists of the artist’s unfolding narrative. Each new work by Hancock is a contribution to the saga of the Mounds, portraying the birth, life, death, afterlife, and even dream states of these half-animal, half-plant creatures. Influenced by the history of painting, especially Abstract Expressionism, Hancock transforms traditionally formal decisions—such as the use of color, language, and pattern—into opportunities to create new characters, develop sub-plots, and convey symbolic meaning. Hancock’s paintings often rework Biblical stories that the artist learned as a child from his family and local church community. Balancing moral dilemmas with wit and a musical sense of language and color, Hancock’s works create a painterly space of psychological dimensions. Trenton Doyle Hancock was featured in the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, one of the youngest artists in history to participate in this prestigious survey. His work has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. The recipient of numerous awards, Hancock lives and works in Houston, where he was a 2002 Core Artist in Residence at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art Opening Reception Sponsored by Harbor's Edge
Thursday, September 10 | 6:30-9:30pm

Celebrate the opening of MOCA's fall exhibitions with the exhibiting artists. Join Trenton Doyle Hancock and Senior Curator, Valerie Cassel Oliver, from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for an artist talk at 8pm. Enjoy live music by Lovecats, fine fare from Harbor's Edge, and a cash bar. MOCA members and one guest FREE. All other guests $10. Memberships can be purchased at the event.

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