Monday, February 11, 2013

Bush in the Bathroom

So someone hacked George Bush’s email and we are treated to two recent paintings by the former President, one of him in the bathtub, and one of him standing in a shower.

I am not a painter nor am I a psychologist, but that won’t stop me from looking at these paintings and asking WTF? Technically, the work is amateurish and almost childish, but, of course, that’s not what makes these pieces so interesting. It’s the subject matter.

Let’s just say that I had a hankering (we’ll pretend I’m a Texan) to start painting. After buying my canvases and brushes and paints, I need to decide on something to paint. Fine. What’s the first thing I think of? Perhaps a nice still life. You know, a vase with some apples and pears lying around on the table. Or a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Too boring? How about a nice landscape of the Texas hill country or the dramatic plains of West Texas? No? Okay, then what do you think of naked pictures of yourself in the bathroom?

You have to wonder what in the world George was thinking when he decided to paint pictures of himself lying in a bath and standing naked in the shower. Was it a joke? Is there some context to the pictures that we simply don’t get? Otherwise, huh?

Water, especially running water, is a symbol for spiritual cleansing. Think baptism. The water is running in both the tub and the shower pictures. In the shower painting, we see his face reflected in a small mirror. Cleansing. Reflection. Could these paintings be George’s inner desire to be cleansed for his past sins (of which there are so many)? Is he hoping the Almighty will forgive him if he washes his soul clean of his past worldly mistakes? Could he be suffering from a guilty conscience?

Not likely, at least not consciously. Perhaps the tub/shower paintings are part of a bathroom trilogy, and the third will feature Bush sitting on the toilet reading the latest issue of Guns & Ammo. Makes as much sense as any other explanation.

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