The Columns

Closing Lecture and Reception for Bob Trotman: Business as Usual

— by on May 9th, 2008

On Thursday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m., sculptor Bob Trotman will give a lecture about his installation Business as Usual, currently on exhibit at Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery. The artist’s talk will take place in the Wilson Hall concert hall, followed by a reception in Staniar Gallery and the Wilson Hall atrium.

The public is invited to attend both the artist’s lecture and the reception, as well as to visit the exhibit before its closing on May 17.

Bob Trotman: Business as Usual consists of ten figures carved from basswood and poplar and painted with tempera in muted tones so that the wood grain, cracks, and tool marks are clearly visible. They represent a new body of the artist’s work and a further development of his dystopic vision of middle-class American culture, notably the corporate workplace.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the sculpture Cover Up, a group of three business men and one business woman huddled under a shroud so that only their legs and feet are visible below the carved wooden drapery. Cover Up occupies a middle ground between Committee and Chorus.

Committee is a group of five monumental “corporate heads” on columnar pedestals, each with his eyes or mouth carved on reversible wooden blocks with an alternate expression on the other side. Across the room from Committee is Chorus. Represented only from the chest up with their arms raised above their heads and mouths agape, the four larger-than-life figures in Chorus look as if they are sinking into the floor.

A resident of Casar, N.C., who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1969 with a degree in philosophy, Bob Trotman is nationally recognized for his wood sculpture. He studied at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C., and with such well-known artists as James Surls, Robert Morris, and Francisco Rivera. Trotman has received two Visual Arts Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three grants from the North Carolina Arts Council. He has shown in such significant venues as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn.; the Visual Art Center of Richmond, Va.; the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.; and, the Frank Parrasch Gallery in New York; and, his work is in numerous public and private collections.

After its closing at Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery, Bob Trotman: Business as Usual will travel to the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, N.C., the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C., and the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C. An itineraty and exhibition catalog are available at Staniar Gallery.

Staniar Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary and art historical works in all media by regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists. Its central purpose is to serve as a teaching space, presenting multi-disciplinary topics through art and dialogue. Located on the second floor of Wilson Hall in the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Washington and Lee’s campus, the gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the academic year. For additional information please call 540.886.8861.