Bob Trotman: Business As Usual Takes On Corporate Culture
Exhibition on view at the Mint Museum of Art May 23 – November 14, 2009
A new exhibition at the Mint Museum of Art puts the corporate workplace under a magnifying glass, and provides food for thought for as the city of Charlotte finds itself at the epicenter of the banking crisis.
Combining wood’s visual warmth with a startling sense of isolation, nationally acclaimed artist Bob Trotman intensely examines the minutiae of everyday life through his figurative sculptures. In Bob Trotman: Business as Usual, the artist’s human-scaled characters explore issues of power, corporate relations and the psychology of the workplace.
Conceived as an installation with an affinity to Greek tragedy, Trotman’s sculptures of men and women in corporate attire are divided into three subsections: Committee, Cover Up and Chorus. In each of these sections the figures are presented in disconcerting postures – some melting into the floor, others mysteriously covered by a shroud, while those in positions of power reside on pedestals. Their interchangeable expressions fit the persona each must portray to succeed within a competitive environment. Pursed lips prevent disclosure of information or outspokenness, and eyes may be fixed alternately in a glare for subordinates or a fawning gaze reserved for those in positions of greater power.
Trotman uses his sculptures to suggest how the corporate world can lead to a “wooden” existence of keeping up appearances, despite personal problems, and promote inter-personal tensions that bubble beneath the surface. Studying his carved figures, the viewer often gets the sense that things aren’t working out for these characters in the way they had planned. Trotman emphasizes cracks in the figures, mended somewhat crudely with metal patches, to convey the suffering of keeping up their roles or being victimized by those in power. Comically pointed, yet empathetic, his sculptures suggest an enigma at the core of human experience.
Bob Trotman will give a talk about Business as Usual at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 14 at the Mint Museum of Art. This lecture is free for Mint members, or after museum admission. The Bob Trotman: Business as Usual exhibition and publication are generously sponsored by the Goodrich Foundation. A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and include an essay by the Mint’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Carla Hanzal, and an interview with the artist by Dinah Ryan. The catalogue will be available for purchase in The Museum Shop.
VantagePoint is The Mint Museum’s ongoing exhibition series emphasizing the range of exploration and new developments in recent art practice. A resident of Casar, Trotman is the first North Carolina artist to be featured in the series.