The continuing art adventures of Doofus and the Duck and their Company of players, as created by my wonderful wife Emma during the time of quarantine: the COVID-19 pandemic, now continuing into 2021. This is the thirteenth installment of works, the Company remaining at the height of their creative endeavors.
Without further ado, back to the Doofus and the Duck…
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of all of those born on this day (including one of the founder sponsors of the Company), their tableau of the multi-talented American humourist, author, and illustrator Sandra Boynton’s most iconic images, created for the Recycled Paper Greetings card company, entitled “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes (1975),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Bird, and featuring the Purple Hippo as The Hippo, Shaun the Sheep as Ewe No. 1, and introducing the Little Sheep as Ewe No. 2, and the Little Blue Men as The Tune
This critic has to confess to a fraction of bias in that this image was formative, and the Company has managed to capture the essence of Boynton’s whimsy with outrageous panache. (Either that or this tableau is some kind of deranged mugshot lineup after one of those parties very few of us has ever been invited to.) Outstanding!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 237th anniversary of Élisabeth Thible becoming the first woman to fly an untethered hot air balloon (reaching an estimated 1500m), their tableau of (arguably) the most famous and well-known portrait in the world, painted by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, entitled “La Gioconda (c. 1503-1506),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Enigmatic Lisa del Gherardini, and featuring the Purple Hippo and the Little Sheep as Pillars of Society
What a delight it is to see the Company attempting possibly the most iconic, as well as most parodied, classical artwork and doing such a fine job! Some may have noted the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot is not well suited to the role (“Where is that defining smile?” they ask) however, it is better to think of this as an ensemble piece and, as such, is so much more than simply the well-known image and one needs to understand the metaphysical necessity of two small players (whose eyes follow you around the room, and has the smile appeared on the Purple Hippo’s face?) and the powerful presence of two of the Company’s greatest actors supporting the frame. A metaphor on the current state of academic art theory? “For whom the bell tolls” seems an appropriate response!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 146th anniversary of the birth of German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, and Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann, their tableau of a painting by German romanticist painter Carl Spitzweg, entitled “The Butterfly Hunter (1840),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the famed lepidopterist Herr Dr. Prof. Franz Schmetterlingsjager, and featuring the Purple Hippo, the Little Sheep, and the Small Dino as Various Beautiful Butterflies
A fantastical, colourful, and wonder-filled interpretation of one of Spitzweg’s most beautiful and ironic genre paintings. A complete delight!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 349th anniversary of the birth of Russian tsar and emperor Peter the Great, their tableau of English Victorian Romantic Edmund Blair Leighton’s fantastical re-imagination of a medieval knighting, entitled “The Accolade (1901),” featuring the Purple Hippo as a Fearsome Slavic Warrior, and introducing Sir Eggbert as the future Polish King Henry VI the Good
The post-modern irony drips like honey from a comb. Trivial and Wonderful!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 126th anniversary of the world’s first motor race from Paris to Bordeaux and back and as part of their series of on-going solo works, their tableau of the Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker Théophile Alexandre Steinlen’s most well-known poster, entitled “La tournée du Chat Noir de Rodolphe Salis (1896),” starring Shaun the Sheep as The Black Cat
Brilliant work from Shaun the Sheep in reproducing this iconic theater poster. An Art Nouveau triumph!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 1041st anniversary of the coronation of Vladimir Sviatoslavich the Great, Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev, their tableau of the most famous painting by Russian Nwo-Romantic painter Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov, entitled “The Bogatyrs (1898),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Tricky and Fierce Alyosha Popovich, and Shaun the Sheep as the Greatest of the Bogatyrs Ilya Muromets, and featuring the Purple Hippo as the Very Dangerous and Scary Warrior Dobrynya Nikitich; and Black Horse, Boxer the Stuffed Clydesdale, and the White Tiger as The Noble Steeds
A delightful interpretation of the Russian original, even if the Purple Hippo seems a fraction underwhelming as a Rus warrior. Regardless, the “steeds” are magnificent and the recreation of the steppe convincing making this another excellent production.
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of solo works and in honour of the 77th anniversary of the declaration of Icelandic independence from the Kingdom of Denmark, their tableau by the British portrait painter Sir Henry Raeburn of one of the icons of Scottish Enlightenment culture, entitled “The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (c. 1795)”
A delight! (And the outtake is also excellent!)
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of this year’s Summer/Winter Solstice, their tableau of a work by Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning, entitled “Abstraction (1949-1950),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Yellow and Red Blobby Horse-shaped area; featuring the Purple Hippo and the Little Sheep as Whateveritis, the Little Blue Men Doing Their Thing, and Trevor the Trilobite as Symbolic Death; and introducing Pingu the Pop-up Paper Penguin as The Black and White Squiggly Thing
de Kooning once said of his own work, “I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it — drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space.” In recreating this work the Company has, in their own idiosyncratic way, been absolutely faithful to the artist’s conception of his own artistic truth as well as providing us with a stunning abstract entity that stands on its own as a major work of art. A stunning achievement!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the birthday of one of their much loved supporters, their reconstruction, in tableau form, of the mosaic depiction of the front of Theodoric’s Palace on the upper part of the south wall of the nave of his royal basilica, whose original inhabitants were replaced by mosaic wall hangings under the order of Byzantine emperor Justinian I owing to their heretical nature, entitled “Mosaic of Palace of Theoderic in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna (c. 500),” starring The ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Theodoric the Great, Ruler of the Ostrogoths, Patrician of the East Roman Empire, and Regent of the Visigoths, and featuring Shaun the Sheep, the Purple Hippo, China Baby, and the Little Sheep as Fierce and Scary Gothic Warriors
Another delightful and imaginative recreation from the Company, this time filling in the blanks. Whilst it might, at first glance, be hard to tell this from an Asterix the Gaul reunion party, I am assured the costumes are authentic, down to the beards. A wonder!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of famous movie posters, their tableau of one of the promotional posters for Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s epic adaption of English author and scholar J.R.R. Tolkien’s monumental fantasy classic, entitled “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001),” featuring the Purple Hippo as the Very Brave and Adventurous Hobbit Mr Frodo Baggins, the Black Horse as A Black Rider’s Horse, and the Little Sheep as Samwise Gamgee, Hobbit
What a delightfully atmospheric trifle with wonderful work by the Company set designers and dressers: simply effective and beautiful and, if the truth can be told, much closer to the source material than the original poster. The Doofus and Black Horse are suitably menacing, and the little members of the Company effective as scared hobbits (even if the Little Sheep is a touch hairy for such a character). Excellent work!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the staging of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, their tableau of American “Cycling Artist” Michael Valenti’s official promotional poster, entitled “Le Tour de France 2020 Turned Upside Down (2020),” featuring the Little Blue Men as The Classification Leaders
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the latest Sydney COVID lockdown, their tableau of a recently controversial work by English Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse, entitled “Hylas and the Nymphs (1896),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Most Beautiful and Dangerous Naiad, and featuring the Purple Hippo and Little Sheep as Very Nice Watery Girls
Like it or loath it, Waterhouse’s epic canvas of the ill-fated Argos crewman Hylas has become newsworthy. In a way, the Company’s take once more shines a humorous light on the pathetic whingeings of both the Keep It Party (it is simply more dross from the Pre-Raphaelites and there are plenty of those daubs to go around) and the Remove It Party (“Really?” they seem to ask. “You want to ban this?”). As ever a gem!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going solo series and in honour of the 530th anniversary of the birth of the Great English Monarch Henry VIII Tudor, their tableau of one of the most beloved of all English 19th Century paintings, by the English artist and sculptor Edwin Henry Landseer, entitled “The Monarch of the Glen (1851),” starring Boxer the Stuffed Clydesdale as the Noble Scottish Stag
A simple delight, with an interesting touch of New World to enhance, and update, the appeal of this otherwise clichéd Scottish Finger Biscuit tin lid. And well done to Boxer the Stuffed Clydesdale for its first solo! Bravo!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of famous movie posters and in honour of the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact which heralded the “End of History,” their tableau of a promotional poster for the epic monster movie created by New Zealanders Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, and based on Cooper and Wallace’s 1933 classic movie, entitled “King Kong (2005),” starring Shaun the Sheep as the Mighty Fearsome King Kong of Skull Island, and featuring the Purple Hippo as The Red Baron and a Little Blue Man as Ann Darrow
Mighty work indeed from Shaun the Sheep in a terrific portrayal of the iconic movie monster. The teeth are, in particular, an excellent touch! A delight!
ed. This is an updated version of the poster. The original is here.
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the National Holiday of the United States of America-land and the birthday of one of the Company’s earliest supporters, their tableau of the iconic WWII photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthhal, entitled “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima (23 Feb 1945),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Marine Pfc. Franklin Sousley, and featuring Shaun the Sheep as Marine Sgt. Michael Strank and the Purple Hippo as Marine Cpl. Harlon Block
A fine interpretation of the iconic image: Simple and elegant, without any frills of frippery to distract from the inherent poignancy of the scene. The introduction of Trevor the Trilobite, as the Company’s usual messenger of mortality, is also significant, particularly as the three named members of the flag-raising party were later killed-in-action on Iwo Jima. Bravo!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 211th birthday of US businessman and hoaxster Phineas Taylor Barnum, their tableau of Australian 20th Century artist Sidney Nolan’s iconic painting, entitled “Ned Kelly (1946),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Famous and Noble Bushranger Ned Kelly, and featuring Boxer the Stuffed Clydesdale as The Faithful Horse
A simple yet marvelously evocative depiction of Nolan’s most iconic Kelly image. Superb!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the 2021 Tour de France being the first edition to include in its route a double ascent of the feared Giant of Provence (1909m, Hors catégorie), their tableau of American cycle-artist Michael Valenti’s celebratory poster, entitled “Ventoux (2013?),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Legendary Cyclist and Maillot Jaune wearer Bernard “Le Bandicoot” Pinot, and featuring the Purple Hippo reprising his classic role as Didi the Devil, and the Little Sheep as a Wild French Mountain Goat
Another excellent and fun version of a Micheal Valenti poster. Simple, elegant, funny, and wonderful!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the upcoming Euro 2020 football final between Italy and England, their tableau of a famed painting by the Venetian Renaissance master Vittore Carpaccio, entitled “St. George and the Dragon (1502),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as The Mighty and Noble St. George, featuring the Black Horse as A Valiant Steed, the Little Sheep as A Frightened Onlooker, Trevor the Trilobite as the Metaphor of Mortality, and introducing Brian McMaster from New Zealand as The Fearsome Dragon
There are times when reviewing some of the Company’s more extreme works when one is taken by surprise at the audacity of their vision and their willingness to sacrifice to achieve it. No more so than here where one can hardly begin to imagine how The Duck entertained its role in this drama, nor quite what our new player, Brian McMaster, is thinking, however, when taken as a whole, how can we but fail to be impressed with the composition, the poise of the noble knight and elegant maiden, and the terror at being et from the Little Sheep? Noble desperation indeed!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of the recent victory of the Azzurri in winning the Euro 2020 football championship, their tableau of one of the most notable paintings by 19th century English painter Ford Madox Brown, a tondo entitled “The Last of England (1855),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as Emma Marianne d’Alembert-Hobbes, a distraught emigrant; and featuring Shaun the Sheep as The Husband Bound for South Australia
A lovely, and touching, interpretation of Madox Ford’s famous painting played quite straight by the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot and Shaun the Sheep. Their eyes, in particular, capture the sorry at looking upon their homeland for the very last time in their lives. Super work!
Doofus and the Duck present, as part of their on-going series of solo works and in memory of the 228th anniversary of French Revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat taking his final bath, their tableau of a famous work by English pop-artist David Hockney, entitled “A Bigger Splash (1967),” featuring the Purple Hippo as A Famous Diver"
The mystery has lifted and now we know who caused that famous splash back in the ’60s. Well done, that Hippo!
Doofus and the Duck present, in honour of a fan request and in celebration of World Emoji Day, their tableau of a theatrical release poster for John Houston’s film adaption of Strouse-Charnin-Meehan Broadway musical based on Harold Gray’s long-running comic strip originally based on a poem written by James Whitcomb Riley, entitled “Annie (1982),” starring the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot as the Spunky and Optimistic 11 year old Orphan Annie Bennett, and featuring the Little Sheep as Sandy the Dog
Well that’s a thing. I’m not quite sure what kind of thing but it is rather amusing. Well done!