Artist Douglas Bourgeois Assembles His Show of Shows
By Doug MacCash, Art critic, NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNEWorking day after day in his St. Amant, La., studio near Gonzales, it usually takes Douglas Bourgeois three years to create enough of his small, hyper-detailed artwork for a show.
This time, Hurricane Katrina delayed his planned exhibition, adding another year to his intensive work schedule. The result is an amazing array of 103 oil paintings, collages, cameo portraits and ink drawings that line the walls of all three Arthur Roger Gallery rooms.
“I was really on fire,” Bourgeois, 55, said of his fevered art production. “I just wanted to make use of the opportunity. I looked at it and said ‘Oooo, I did this?’ ”
Oooo, yes he did. Bourgeois’ many fans will recognize the dreamy surrealism in which sexual allure, fan magazine glamour, Catholic iconography, Southern gothic romance, boomer-generation toys, grocery labels, and rock ‘n’ roll blend into a glittering, luscious whole. It’s pure unadulterated Bourgeois, as good as he’s ever been, which is about as good as it gets.
And as a bonus, he’s given us a whole new style to consider. In a back room is a small suite of wooden collages, with Bourgeois’ typical every-hair-in-place portraits diced and spliced into countrified cubist compositions. But here’s the thing: The fine-line portraits aren’t painted, they’re charred into the grain with an old-fashioned wood-burning kit. The effect is a little nostalgic, a little tongue-in-cheek, a little ritualistic — a lot Bourgeois.
He said the wooden pieces are the newest and that he considers the spontaneity of assembling them a sort of reward for what he calls the “insane focus” of the rest of the show.
“I want to do more,” he said