Flower Bed serves as a parable about good and evil involving furry black and white animate forms and chronicles their struggle against adversity. One of Hancock’s characters, Homerbuctus, has an eye for beauty but knows no moderation. His insatiable appetite leads him to take the flowers as his “mistresses”. Flower Bed wallpaper expresses this abundance of beauty with its many interwoven brightly colored exotic flowers. While this wallpaper was available for commercial sale through the gallery, the artist used it as a backdrop to display his drawings when his work was exhibited at the James Cohan Gallery in Manhattan. This abundance of floral pattern helped Hancock bring to life this story of beauty and excess. The artist’s drawings of Mound creatures were installed on top of the paper which established the feeling of creatures sitting amongst the flower-filled meadows and brought a cohesiveness to the installation. Warhol displayed his artwork in a similar fashion but with very different effect; the strong repetition of Warhol’s prints work against the strongly patterned wallpaper was less than harmonious.
Flower Bed is a rather unique take on floral wallpapers. While the pattern contains overlapping and meandering flowers and foliage in the traditional fashion, it is strewn with dismembered body parts and seemingly random doodles. Flower Bed is beautifully screen-printed in eleven colors on a white ground which picks up the detail from the original artwork. The artist’s attention to detail is amazing, from the graphite-looking doodles to the brightly colored exotic flowers, as the line drawing and color shading takes on the appearance of a watercolor.
Hancock, an African American artist based in Texas, has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries. Prior to this body of work, he dealt with racial stereotypes and explored the barriers black males have historically confronted. After dealing with racial stereotypes in a variety of ways, “inflating them and ultimately imploding and disintegrating them,” Hancock was ready to move on.