It’s something the almost never happens, a once-in-a-lifetime event. Ordinarily it takes Douglas Bourgeois, the most meticulous artist in Louisiana if not the world, ages to complete a single, modestly proportioned canvas.
MS: Look at the blessing civilization hath brought us. Speaking of which, let me transition over to another painting from the same year –1993– called The Traveler. Here again we have the tensions between the two value systems.
DB: The same themes more or less, but maybe a little more despairing and maybe a little more allegorical in that she’s obviously a salesman or a business person, because she’s got the briefcase and fast food and her accounting work.
As Louisiana”s leading fantasy-based realist painter, Douglas Bourgeois deserves both a broader audience and more probing analysis. In the wake of his first retrospective, “Baby-Boom Daydreams,” he is likely to get both.
The fascinating work of acclaimed figurative artist Douglas Bourgeois is the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia through February 15, 2004.
In 1981 Douglas Bourgeois painted Blue Christmas, a work featuring Elvis Presley lying back on a bed beside a fully lit and decorated Christmas tree. Hanging in the blue-draped window just behind him is a bushy holiday wreath.
Douglas Bourgeois hails from St. Amant, Louisiana, where he has lived and worked since 1981 and where his family has resided for several generations. That would seem to make him the kind of artist who, some years ago, would have been labeled “regional.”
Although he was raised on a small farm in the rural southern Louisiana community of St. Amant, Douglas Bourgeois grew up at a time when living in a remote area did not necessarily mean isolation from the cultural trappings of the big city.
Douglas Bourgeois is one of the most talented and poetic artists in Louisiana, or anywhere else. Paintings like those on view at Arthur Roger Gallery through April 24-hypnotically complicated, obsessively busy oils, peopled with pop-culture icons-are the bricks from which Bourgeois’ reputation is built.
Nine small paintings equal two years’ work for Louisiana artist Douglas Bourgeois-a pace that seems positively speedy when one encounters his meticulously rendered pieces at Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St. Detailed and delicate as the interiors of watches, these panel paintings are testaments to obsessive craftsmanship and its power to capture the vivid obsessions of our dreams.
Douglas Bourgeois grew up Catholic in a rural hamlet in southeast Louisiana. Born in 1951, he attended a parochial elementary school where he served as an altar boy, and in his teens enrolled in a training facility for future priests. Today, Bourgeois is not a churchgoer and eschews organized religion.