My first contact with Tucker Bôbst was through his work in 1975 when I was Director of the Philadelphia Civic Center Museum. Tucker’s work captured my attention immediately. His exquisite draftsmanship and mastery of the technique of trompe I’oeil are indeed striking. Clearly mastery of technique alone does not merit the accolade of master artist. Bôbst’s work combines extraordinary craftsmanship with an inner vision that is clear and often so startlingly profound that it elevates his work to a level well above mere competence.
“Over the passed twenty-five years I have had the opportunity to get to know the artist and his art. In my opinion Tucker Bôbst epitomizes the very definition of surrealist. He has an ability to confront the human condition with an eye that strips away spin and personal prejudice and applies a surgeon like skill in presenting an idea with a clarity and economy that is startling in its frankness. His rebus-like images which frequently combine calligraphy and sculptural elements, convey the unselfconscious assurance and guileless good humor of a man with nothing to hide who is possessed of a boundless curiosity about his world and humanity. Like the classic Japanese haiku, his works consist of carefully crafted layers of meaning and emotional nuance which can be openly and amusingly straight forward and deeply complex and disturbing at the same time. Although always provocative and at times confrontational, one never gets the feeling from his work that he is trying to change your mind or convert you to his point of view. Rather he is challenging you, or perhaps better put, inviting you to explore the subject of his work. He searches in his images, not for confirmation of a position but for dialog upon an idea. Dialog that prompts the viewer to explore the intellectual attitudes, emotions and feelings evoked by his images.
“Much of Bôbst’s work is fraught with religious and sexual innuendo. He frequently uses images of animals to evoke in the viewer consciousness of human qualities and issues such as kindness toward other creatures and environmental sensitivity as well as to provoke the viewer to stop and consider the message set out by the juxtaposition of the seemingly disparate images. Bôbst’s fascination with the human condition and in the world of theater is revealed in his use of images of famous show business and political figures.
“Frequently witty (sometimes caustically so,) often cryptic, his portraits are amazing studies in the human perception of the self as other.”