Usually at some point greatness disappoints. Even very great artists sometimes falter, lose their way, run out of steam. Not so Louise Bourgeois, who transmuted a family story of paternal infidelity into a narrative of mythological dimension that she always insisted was the primary driving force of her work, and for whom that self-mythologized personal narrative served as an undying battery to produce great art works until the end of her very long life, her late stuffed cloth figural sculptures as raw, uncompromising, and young as her early objects and drawings.
In recent years Bourgeois returned to the medium of textile where her art formation had begun as the daughter of tapestry restorers, making increasingly crude (that is direct) stuffed cloth sculptures that continued to transmit sexual power transmuted into sculptural form. Her figuration in these pieces was both raw and stylized yet did not seem mannered. Sometimes an artwork hedges its bets, or, by some minute concession to accessibility, in some tiny betrayal of form, apologizes for itself. I never detected that in Bourgeois’s work.
excerpts from my recent post, A Great Artist, some reflections on the work of Louise Brourgeois written the day she died, May 31, 2010, on my blog A Year of Positive Thinking