Trenton Doyle Hancock has, since childhood, been interested in issues of morality and ethics. He grew up in an all American household governed by Christian ideals and over a lifetime has developed his own parallel (sometimes contradictory) value system incorporating his love of toys and the narratives played out by comic book characters. What began simply in his youth necessitated by a desire to manage a seemingly endless amount of resources, questions and life information, has continued as a grand narrative into adult life, pulling in a deepening understanding of life's thematic complexities, current events and existential conundrums which have come to form the complex narrative basis for Hancock’s paintings, drawings, murals, theatrical performances and film. This, combined with constant inspiration drawn from classical comic book imagery, pop art and American cinema (especially the horror genre), as well as the aesthetic of classic prints (Durer, Goya, Daumier, Kathe Kollwitz, etc.), creates Hancock’s unique approach to collaged painting.
I Want to Be at the Meeting After the Separation takes its title from a verse in a popular gospel hymn often performed in American Baptist churches. Like many of the titles Hancock uses, I Want to Be at the Meeting After the Separation has a personal history for the artist: the hymn was introduced to his local congregation by Hancock’s late grandmother and was also a favourite of his step-father’s, a minister in the local parish. I Want To Be at the Meeting After the Separation will feature a number of new paintings, part of Hancock’s ongoing grand saga portraying the birth, death, afterlife and dream-like states of a range of characters, particularly the Mounds (half-animal, half-plant like creatures) and their aggressors, the Vegans. The new body of work, however, is described by Hancock as “a new beginning” and shifts the storyline by preparing ground for the introduction of a series of new characters.
In the new paintings the two opposing forces – Loid (the being with stark, paternal energy) and Painter (the being with colourful, lenient, maternal energy), both recurring characters in Hancock’s previous works – are re-joined having been separated early on in Hancock’s narrative, around 50,000 years ago. As Loid is characteristically known for his use of black and white, and Painter by her colour-coded signature, Hancock’s merger of the two has created a new unified being named "Ploid". Hancock imagines their merger causing an upset in the atmospheric balance set out in the previous storyline and the three large paintings in the exhibition – I Want to Be at the Meeting After the Separation, Referee, and I Know Just How You Feel – illustrate the moments of adjustment as our eyes attempt to focus and our brains try to decide where one being stops and the other begins. The three paintings also set out and describe the conditions which make the smaller paintings in the exhibition. These smaller works each represent a skewed path branching off from these larger pieces. The new monumental works set the stage for the imminent debut of Ploid (the being that unites Painter and Loid), Betto (Ploid’s nemesis), Torpedoboy (Ploid’s son and an incarnation of Hancock himself), UNDOM ENDGLE (the long lost reincarnation of Ploid’s daughter), Junior (Torpedoboy’s and Undom’s child that is destined to save the world) and others. I Want to Be at the Meeting After the Separation is a new beginning, an entrance way into a new dramatic turn in Hancock’s narrative.