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Leading Into the Unknown: A Conversation with Bob Trotman
by Mark Washburn


Bob Trotman lives in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains, surrounded by his materials—60 acres of rolling woods from which he occasionally extracts a dead poplar and restores it to life in comic-tragic human images. The works featured in his “Business As Usual” exhibition, which he started carving in the 1990s, have found a popular resonance in the recessionary era. These haunting sculptural tableaux depict individuals captured in a commerce of horror. Trotman grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, as a philosophy major in 1969. He still applies an existential outlook to his work, challenging viewers to figure out the tangled knots of meaning. Trotman’s work has been given four solo shows in New York at Franklin Parrasch Gallery and features in many museum collections, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

 


Chorus (Martin, Kaitlin, Jane, Sinking Feeling), 2008. Wood, paint, and steel, dimensions variable.

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