Bob Trotman: Model Citizens featured seven carved and painted wood sculptures made by Trotman between 2001 and 2005.

The sculptures in Model Citizens depicted people with the clothes and hairstyles of the 1950s, whose dramatic poses convey a sense of distress at their inability to understand or control the forces that shape their lives. Seemingly humorous tributes to the postwar generation of which Trotman’s parents were a part, the works also imply that the model citizen of yesterday—and today—passively accepts his or her lack of control in exchange for the comfort that comes from not questioning society’s assumptions.

Trotman considers wood to be a perfect medium for conveying his humanistic concerns. He began working with wood as a furniture craftsman in 1974, often incorporating anthropomorphic imagery so that his works were both functional craft and sculpture. Eventually, Trotman realized that his real interest was in creating a “poetic expression of what it feels to be alive…in the world.” Thus, in 1997, Trotman focused completely on art making, and has since created a compelling array of characters, embodying the pathos, self-delusion, and desperate heroism of everyday life.

“As a figurative sculptor my concern is the exploration, interpretation, and representation of the human body,” says Bob Trotman in his artist’s statement. “My subjects are caught in dilemmas they can neither escape nor understand, and wood, through its organic warmth, its quirks and flaws, gives their quandaries an immediacy they might not otherwise have.”

Born in Winston-Salem, NC, Trotman received a B.A. in philosophy from Washington and Lee University, and for 30 years has maintained a studio in the foothills of western North Carolina. Self-taught in art, he has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, and has had four solo gallery shows in New York City. His work is in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; the North Carolina Museum of Art; the Weatherspoon Museum of Art; the Mint Museum of Art; the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design; and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, among others.

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