Furniture maker turned figurative sculptor, North Carolina’s Bob Trotman exploits the expressive qualities inherent in wood. He carves this medium into representative holdovers from 1950s middle-class America. Girl and the rest of these “model citizens” adhere to a bland dress code that maintains its tidiness in spite of the body’s contortions. Trotman captures each figure in an unlikely pose that implies distress or danger, throwing the viewer off balance as well.
The toppling-over Girl appears in dialogue with Joel Shapiro’s bronze sculpture, also in the Museum’s collection, which might be seen as someone struggling to regain an upright position. Girl also invites comparison with another work in wood, Tilmann Riemenschneider’s Female Saint, also owned by the Museum. The late-medieval German sculptor is a lasting source of inspiration for Trotman, who, in response to the lindenwood saint, wrote, “What better image of human suffering and perseverance than this living material that encapsulates years one growth ring at a time?”
tags: movement, environment, subjectivity