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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© Trenton Doyle Hancock
Acrylic and mixed media on cut canvas

108 x 90 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Cecily E. Horton in honor of the
twenty-fifth anniversary of the Core Program

Arts of North America

Trenton Doyle Hancock has fashioned an ongoing saga, in which the good, meat-eating Mounds defend themselves against the evil, underground, and colorblind Vegans. As Hancock’s mythology has developed and looped back and forth, the story has become complex and difficult to describe in a linear way. The underlying concept is one of equations: good and evil vs. black and white; the benevolent wholesome Mounds, with their pink moundmeat, vs. the evil mutant Vegans.

Beacon depicts a miracle machine—a mound made from vegan parts that enables Vegans to see in full color—constructed by Sesom (Moses spelled backward), the minister and patriarch of the skeletal Vegans. Beacon is a tool to convert the unconverted. For Hancock, the optical plentitude is ultimately a means of regaining humanity.

Hancock's earlier work consisted of paintings on loose canvas and felt. Beacon, one of his first stretched canvases, is a kaleidoscopic tour de force. The precision of the central figure weighs against the unrestrained back- ground of collaged black-and-white splinters. Here, Hancock's mythological network offers a renewed source for painterly innovation.