Bob Doucette “Undertow: I Hear The Sirens Song”
Bob Doucette, an artist who grew up by the sea in his home state of Maine, heads back to the waves April 15-17 at his EC Gallery Seaport Village show “Undertow: I Hear The Sirens Song.”
Doucette’s work and theme will aim to show anyone viewing his art that he indeed still feels the Atlantic tide of his home. Jellyfish, water plants, Krakens, and leviathans are promised to be seen in the seaport waters, but another influence and a familiar signature to his work will be there too—girls whose eyes you get lost in. Sirens to be exact, known from Greek mythology where they would lure sailors to their watery death using song. As ghastly as a scene like this is, it is pure beauty when you look at any of Doucette’s doe-eyed women. “For me, when I start painting, I am very much a face person,” he said. “So when I do something that is a face I have to communicate with it on a very basic level. I need an emotional response to it. I have to paint the face first and if the eyes don’t speak to me, don’t have some kind of emotion to me, it goes dead to me.” When Doucette is not painting creatures only Jacques Cousteau has lived to see, he is an artistic polymath, if there ever was one.
From the time that he was a knee-high kid taking lessons from his father, he believed himself to be an artist. When adults around his hometown would ask him if he always wished to be an artist when he grew up, Bob would always look up from his scratch paper to declare, “I am an artist!” When he was not reading Charles Addams comics and watching Chuck Jones cartoons, Doucette went on to achieve an impressive list of roles: lead animator, storyboard artist, and sculptor. While all
these are great accomplishments, they pale in comparison to the message of his work—the weight of dreams.
Armed with a dream journal he keeps on his nightstand, he is more often than not on a chase for them. All artists chase dreams, and dreams chase artists day and night. They hope that in meeting it will spawn works which complement the best of this world and the dream, and if by the greatest of luck or by some miracle, they will be able to create an entirely new world. Doucette has fulfilled this feat and what he introduces to our world of restraint is Toboland.
He creates a place as accessible as any dream is, where visitors are reminded of hopes and highs of a past they were not born into, the iconography Doucette adores—Darby’s and Top hats, smoking pipes, cars you had to wind up to drive. All of this summons nostalgia in his collectors and has them thinking, “I remember that too!” Memories are stirred up when it is Magoo they pass on the streets yelling for a cab. The influences that walk in Toboland remind you that it is Doucette’s world, a comical observation, an insight into how Doucette sees things. It is a funny place made of dreams, color, and childhood cartoons. Our world, while different, is not too far from it. Stop by EC Gallery Seaport Village April 15-17 for your one-way ticket to Toboland and venture for yourself.