Ballet Austin’s “Cult of Color: Call to Color”

In conjunction with Saya Woolfalk: Empathic Cloud Divination, the Main Gallery video room will screen Ballet Austin’s “Cult of Color: Call to Color,” a collaboration by choreographer and Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills, visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock and composer Graham Reynolds.

“Cult of Color: Call to Color” is a chapter in Trenton Doyle Hancock’s ongoing artistic mythology. Hancock’s paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and individual performances work together to represent his characters, the Mounds, the Vegans, and other imaginative creatures, who are at the center of the artist’s unfolding operatic narrative. Hancock’s characters and their dilemmas embody themes of life and death, the struggle between good and evil, love, authority, spirituality and moral relativism. Biblical in scope, mythological in content, and comic book in style, the story tells of a battle fought between the gentle Mounds and the mutant Vegans. In this chapter of Hancock’s story we are introduced to the Vegan minister, Sesom (Moses spelled backwards) who, like his namesake, offers the possibility of salvation to the unruly and war-like Vegan followers through the intervention of a loving character, Painter. And, just as all the Vegans appear to convert to the goodness of “The Cult of Color,” one antagonist, Betto Watchow, resists. The ensuing violent struggles for power between these forces of will are at the core of this episode of Hancock’s tale. Balancing moral dilemmas with wit and a musical sense of language and color, Hancock creates a painterly space of psychological dimension.

The Collaboration
This unique project originated with Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin’s Artistic Director, who invited Trenton Doyle Hancock and Graham Reynolds to collaborate with him to create a new ballet based on Hancock’s ongoing visual narrative. Reynolds composed the music as well as the sound environments, and Mills created the unique choreography. Hancock conceived the story, designed the costumes, sets and properties which include a backdrop curtain and fabric made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.”–Via Arthouse (Austin, TX)

The work was selected by Woolfalk and Tube Factory curator, Shauta Marsh as part of a series of artists that have influenced Woolfalk’s work. “Cult of Color: Call to Color” will run through October 3.

About Hancock
Trenton Doyle Hancock was born in 1974 in Oklahoma City, OK. 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 was featured in the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, at the time becoming one of the youngest artists in history to participate in the prestigious survey. In 2014, his exhibition, Skin & Bones: 20 Years of Drawing, at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston traveled to Akron Art Museum, OH; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, VA. In 2019, a major exhibition of his work, Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass, opened at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA in 2019. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA; the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL; the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah and Atlanta, GA; The Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC; The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. TX; The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Olympic Sculpture Park at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.