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"The Former and the Ladder or Ascension and a Cinchin'"Trenton Doyle Hancock
Filmed in 2012 at James Cohan Gallery in New York City, artist Trenton Doyle Hancock discusses his large-scale collage The Former and the Ladder or Ascension and a Cinchin’ (2012). Made from materials that Hancock accumulated over a fifteen-year period, including scraps from some of his earlier artworks, it provides a condensed overview of his artistic development to-date.
The artist, who recently moved away from his longtime Mounds and Vegans narrative, describes the central figure as busting out of shackles and “trying to get free of something.” The Former and the Ladder or Ascension and a Cinchin’ is held in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts collection.More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Camera: Ian Forster, Rafael Salazar Moreno & Ava Wiland. Sound: Stephanie Andreou & Ava Wiland. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Trenton Doyle Hancock & James Cohan Gallery. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.
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Trenton Doyle 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. Balancing moral dilemmas with wit and a musical sense of language and color, Hancock’s works create a painterly space of psychological dimensions.
“There were no false starts when I went to work on it. There was calculated subtraction.”
Trenton Doyle Hancock