Friday, February 9, 2007

Tim Doud at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art by David Waddell

Tim Doud’s show titled Materiality explores the language of symbols. Doud’s use of clothing and accessories reinforces society’s artificial state of how one remains an individual while participating in society through labeling, logos, patterning and colors of cloth, application of lipsticks, the psychology of glasses and hairdos.

We question authenticity of factors that compose the sitter. The line between advertisement and humanity is questioned. The sitter seems animalistic or like a specimen. This is evident in the short depth of field which Doud presents his subjects.

Applying lipstick is a human characteristic. Animals have particular striking markings, which would sexually attract a mate. It is a human choice to physically alter oneself. Considering this point, when I see Angie, she looks less human with lipstick. Doud paints the lips in a flat manner, emphasizing that Angie is wearing a mask of cosmetics. Her lips and hair sit on top of the surface. This is most evident in Lady Dangerous. The paintings are awkward. There is not much space between Angie and the wall, and then Angie and the viewer. She stares out at us like a deer caught in headlights. She does not have a blank expression but one of understanding that she is under the scrutiny of the painter’s eye.

The act of Angie changing clothes to accommodate various make-up shades emphasizes the artifice of painting. The difference between Angie coloring her face with cosmetics and Doud painting Angie’s painted face are similar acts with different social receptions and implications.

Portrait painting originated to commemorate and remember the diseased. Royalty and government officials have their portraits placed in public viewing. People wear lockets and carry pictures in their wallets to remember loved ones. To own or have a portrait of a person is not entirely self-indulgent. In contrast, hiding ones blemishes and flaws through make-up is self-centered. We have to ask why one would paint Angie in costumed situations. Is it to remember that time Angie wore crazy hats and hot pink? No, it is to declare a statement, not just a momentary thought or passing. That is for the photograph. To paint about paint, about pigment is to make a statement. Colors decorate and enhance the world whether it is through painting, cosmetics, advertisements, or clothing.

Doud hints at the pop world’s fascination with advertisement, the billboard, repetition and flat shapes. Doud brushes against but not fully divulges in Katz. He may subscribe to Alex Katz eyes and lips but he must differentiate the visuals when concerning the rest of the body, the skin, the background in order to make a statement on the place of the real and artificial. It is the costume versus the sitter’s aura.

He touched on Warhol with twelve tiled paintings of himself. The heads and faces are subtly different. I could imagine Doud being a factory unto himself, painting twelve floating heads on a blank canvas and then applying different apparell. He too, looks uncomfortable. He is under the scrutiny of his own eye and more importantly, his own thoughts and decisions as a painter.

The sitters who appear more comfortable are from larger works, Haulin Ass and Bobcat. These are from a series where Doud’s sitters dress in clothes worn for a special event. In Haulin Ass, a man faces us frontally without pants. The image is cropped at the tip of his exposed penis. He stares out indifferently. There is no difference between his favorite cotton shirt and the breeze between his legs. It is comfort with material (the cotton of our lives) and comfort with body.

I witnessed two guys realizing that the sitter was not wearing pants. They stepped back, laughing at themselves and their delayed discovery. This is what the composition is set up to look passed assumptions. And it worked.

Bobcat presents a man equally comfortable with himself and his fur-adorned jacket over his shirtless body. He wears a hood over a hat. His clothing choices are geared towards absurd fashion, not function. It could be that he is high. His eyes are red and bloodshot.

I remain neutral about Doud’s backgrounds because I cannot imagine them a differently. The sitters are loaded and work within these emptied spaces. Nitpicking, the depictions of veins bother me when they resemble yarn rather than a passageway for blood. I also question the placement of The Florist on the wall. I do not know if the canvas is placed at the height of this man’s head, but I find it hokey.

I heard some comments about the work being derivative of Alice Neel, but I think that is incorrect and a disservice to Doud’s intentions and comments about society. We live in different times, more conceptual times than Neel. These are more than portraits. They discuss the role of paint, clothing and societal ideas that form us as individuals.

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