Victor Troutman (1944-2017) lived in both Kentucky and Indiana, and spent his final years in Jeffersonville, Indiana. A completely self-taught artist, his award-winning work was exhibited during his lifetime in the Speed Art Museum, the University of Louisville, the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, and many galleries, including the Swanson Cralle Gallery, Optimystics Gallery, Lionheart Gallery, and Gallery JanJobe.
A practicing artist since the 1960s, he stopped painting for twenty years due to debilitating depression. His healing path led him to art therapy where he confronted the conflicts and challenges that were his perceived obstacles to happiness. When Victor began to paint again, he unleashed emotion and imagination as his brush told his story. Victor’s paintings became deeper, richer and many-layered—a virtual fountain of color, symbols, line and forms.
Victor’s son Michael V. Troutman, who is also a visual artist, recalls: “My father's art came from suffering and solitude. He lived a hard life of multiple near-death experiences and lost many things and people that he loved; so in isolation, he limited his involvement with the outside world to preserve the memory of moments he found most precious. Not necessarily documenting their details but capturing their sentiment. He was a very emotional man who felt deeply.”
Victor experimented with many styles, from abstract to cubist to impressionist to surrealist to representational. His artwork is a reflection of life, ranging from the hardships and struggles of the everyday to the highest aspirations of love and the sublime. Each work tells its own unique story, and Victor always invited the viewer to find his/her own meaning.
Victor Troutman, 1944-2017
My Father's Anti-Artist Statement
My father, Victor Troutman, never wrote an artist statement for his exhibits. He was a visual artist, not a verbal artist. He arranged compositions and colors, not words and their sounds. He did not believe in limiting perspectives and interpretations. His own interpretation of his art was only his personally and just because he saw it a certain way didn't mean his perception was the only one or the best. Viewers sometimes inform him of what they saw in his works. They made a personal connection, an individual narrative that no one else could ever tell them they did not see. There is a saying that “to translate is to deceive” and my father knew this well. Having often discussed art with my dad, I know the statement he was making by not creating an artist statement.
But if, by chance, my father wrote an artist statement, I imagine this is what he would say:
"The power of suggestion is such that if I were to tell you what I think I'm doing or what you should think about what I'm doing then what is really here may never be seen. I may make multiple statements and each one may change your perception. Make and share your own perceptions. Some may be the same and others may be unique. No matter how you try to justify or condemn what you see, all explanations and accusations will fall short of being the truth. The truth is a state of simultaneous realities we are sharing. An illusion we constantly construct and destruct. Contradictions are the only permanent structures. Art has multiple definitions, none of-which invalidate each other.
Let art be art. Do not drag it into a world of arbitrary justifications. Validity is void in the world of arts. An artist is an artist and if they want to make a statement with their art then they will do through their art, not their words. As no one instructs me of what to paint, I do not dictate to you what you should see. I paint what I feel. I cannot tell you that you should feel the same. Doing so would only perpetuate stale, trite thoughts and imitation, and false interpretations. I may present myself a certain way but that does not mean that I will be perceived in that same manner. We are all individuals with our own personal experiences. Those experiences create personal filters that cause us to associate certain sentiments with certain terms and images. Take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings for what you think, feel and experience. "
Michael Victor Troutman