Ernest Tino Trova (1927-2009) Keenly curious about the essence of man, artist Ernest Trova has spent a lifetime exploring the human form and condition. "Dealing with 'man' has been a preoccupation," Trova says. "Who is he? What is he? Why is he here?" Trova's "Falling Man" is not idealized; he is real, imperfect and potentially frail. "The worth of man is how he manages," says Trova, explaining that he places his cut-and-hinged figures in a variety of environments and predicaments. "The question is: Can he keep his dignity wherever he finds himself?" Trova asks rhetorically. His work depicts a transitory man who rises and falls, succeeds and fails, and yet perseveres. The circle and sphere - symbols of perfection, infinity and motion -contrast with imperfect man at the same time they represent his evolution, the cycle of life. Trova began his focus on Falling Man in the early 1960s. After a number of experiments in other styles, his work changed in appearance, method and emotional impact. While Trova's work has been compared to that of the Surrealists, Robert Lococo, director of Lococo Mulder Fine Art Publishers, sees Trova's consistent focus on man as a manifestation of Pop Art. "The Falling Man image itself is something that came out of that time when you had artists reaching out to icons of the time and reproducing them," Lococo says. "What this artist did was create his own icon and manipulate it, in a sense making it new." Lococo suggests that Trova and Andy Warhol were, in some ways, very much alike. "They were both obsessive collectors. Absorbing all of that, regurgitating it and putting it all back out was what was so marvelous about their work, and what does so much to interpret the age and time in which we live," he says. Failing Man's appearance and media belie Trova's true purpose. He does not see man as a robot. The fact that Falling Man looks technological, if anything, places him more self-consciously in the present - his, and our, contemporary reality. Trova prefers that we study his entire body of work rather than individual pieces. His philosophy puts the journey ahead of the destination, and though his "studies" represent an exhaustive and ongoing exploration, resolution is not important. While his development from one series to the next may look deliberate, it represents the natural progression of the artist's vision and expansion of his resources. From the beginning, Trova used whatever medium was on hand. When he had fewer resources, he used junk; when he had a staff of electricians, he explored kinetic art. Although Trova's "man" still has a hold on the artist's imagination, his art has recently taken another form, stepping backward, "with more Expressionism," he says, "really a return to some of the things from the '50s, or rather, a completion of them. " Trova's works can be found in many prestigious collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modem Art in New York; and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. In Florida, Trova's works can be seen at the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach; The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples; and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Entering his sixth decade as an artist, Trova has always been interested in the essence of humanity. But he recognizes that life should be lived beyond one's work. "Painting and art is one thing, and then there's domestic life and all the things that go along with that," he says. "Life is a lot more than just one thing." The soft-spoken artist bows to the sentiment of poet Ezra Pound when he says, "Whatever you do, live art, do it every day, but don't talk about it. He's probably right. The more you talk about art, the more diluted it becomes. Art is something to be seen, and it's really hard to discuss it without getting in trouble."