Dan McNeil
AMERICAN ATAVISM, WITH BLOOD AND EXCREMENT - Laura Bush, oil on canvas, 130 x 180

Laura Bush divorced her husband shortly after he was elected for his triumphant third term.  Mrs Bush (she inexplicably continues to retaun her married name) became increasingly reclusive following the divorce, refusing all interviews.  Her first painting appeared 6 months later, although we now know that it was painted late in Mr. Bush's first term of office.  More paintings appeared in rapid succession, culminating in the Laura Bush Exhibition at the Guggenheim in September of this year, a month to the day after her former husband resigned the Presidency and ascended to the Papacy.  Laura Bush is now recognised as a surrealist genius par excellence, her paintings being routinely compared to Ernst and Dali.
American Atavism, With Blood and Excrement is her most recent work, and is already being eagerly pored over by psychologists, politicians, religious leaders and psychopaths.


The city is compressed and distorted, like an Escher drawing.  Manhattan is grotesquely distended, with out of scale skyscrapers sprouting from the litter-strewn earth like gigantic metallic penises.  Upon closer inspection, we see that the skyscrapers are constructed from thousands of stacked cars: blue collar Chevrolets and Fords at the bottom, with Mercedes Benzes and Lexus' tapering to the top.  Sandwiched between are Buicks, Volvos and Lincolns.  Stepping back a few paces, we observe that the positioning and structure of these automotove skyscrapers creates a portrait of George W Bush, like pixels on a screen combinding to create a coherent image. However, in American Atavism, Bush has no eyes; instead, we see two blackened pits, with dark smoke curling into the sky, represing the site of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.


An immense black sun punctures the vermilion sky like a gunshot wound or a third eye.  In turn, the sky indifferently accepts the residue of the World Trade Centre that pours from the lost eyes of George W Bush.


Out of scale with New York City, Liberty rears high above the tallest skyscraper, her alabaster gleam accentuated by her excrement-smeared robes.  Her face is a hideous gargoyle representation of a human skull.  In her right hand is a smoking Colt .45, in her left a copy of the National Enquirer.


The ocean in American Atavism is not liquid, but sand, a vibrant sunflower yellow in colour.  Frozen in time, the crystalline breakers of sand that advance upon the shoreline of the city are strewn with a mixture of blood and excrement.


In almost the centre of the painting - between Manhattan and Liberty - is a small island.  In contrast to the grey tones of manhattan, the island is a lush tropical green.  Visible through the steaming trees is a Romanesque villa. Surrounding the island is a thin strip of liquid ocean, a gleaming protective necklace attempting to resist the inexorable encroachment of the ancient sands.  On the foreshore of the island are two figures, a man and a small child.  The man is holding the child's hand.  Both have their backs turned on the city, and are instead facing Liberty Island, towards which the man is pointing.


In the foreground of the City, close to the shore, a beggar sits with his back resting against a grey dumpster.  It's impossible to tell whether the beggar is dead or merely asleep.  Next to him crouches a fantastically blue basilisk. The basilisk's eyes are not reptilian but human, their expression an ancient and abiding love.

(American Atavism, with Blood and Excrement first appeared in Whispers of Wickedness in 2004)