If you have ever had the pleasure of staring at a painting by California-born, Perth-based artist Matt Doust, you will most likely have been overcome with an eerie sense of voyeurism; the feeling that you have intruded on a moment to which you should not be privy. However, the majority of Doust’s subjects meet your gaze, almost daring you to continue tracing their exposed bodies with your eyes, at times with a confronting stance that borders on obstinate.
His most recent works – under the title of Recollections and Obsessions – is a considered study of intimacy and subjectivity featuring children and strangers. The results are raw, unapologetic and so realistic in their detail that they could easily pass for photographs. But then you look closer and observe the layered shadows and soft application of pigment that reveal the contours of oil paint that make up his bodily landscapes. Although the idea of capturing a semblance of a subject’s interior life is an oft-cited cliché in writing on portraiture, Doust actually records the emotional intensity of the people he paints, creating art that resides on the intersection of passive observation and confrontation.