They’re not much, oeuvre-wise—two amateurish daubs that can’t be confidently judged in reproduction—but everybody with whom I’ve talked likes the images. So do I.
When you’re the President, probably the only times you can be impregnably alone are in the bathroom. I imagine Bush cherishing eight years’ worth of accumulated memories of comfort and various forms of relief in ceramic sanctums.
He’s naked: only his birthday-suited tender self, duty-free.
Did he work from photographs? It can’t be easy to manipulate paints and canvas when you’re stretched out in the tub. As for the view of himself from behind, his face reflected in a little mirror, someone else would have had to be there to snap it. But his back is painted wretchedly enough to dismiss the thought. It conveys only a hazy idea of what his, or any, back looks like. He must have made the pictures up.
That’s pretty racy, the trick with the mirror. Someone could run with it into themes of appearance and reality, mysteries of identity, and whatnot. Not me, though.
Perhaps Laura’s famous love of Dostoevsky got through to him, however inchoately.
It seems a stretch to call Bush an Outsider artist. We need a new term: Besider, maybe.
He appears to have an enviably long bathtub. – Peter Schjeldahl