Tim Doud

The Washington Post Sunday - - ARTS & STYLE -

Be­fore pho­tog­ra­phy up­ended the trade, por­trait painters gen­er­ally de­picted their sub­jects in what­ever way their clients in­structed. Tim Doud does that, too, but not to cel­e­brate so­cial sta­tus. His posers are al­lowed to cos­tume them­selves how­ever they like, try­ing on fan­ci­ful per­sonae in the process. Thus the por­traits in “Pro­logue, 19962016,” Doud’s show at Gallery Nep­tune & Brown, fea­ture gear such as a leop­ard-skin dress, an Amer­i­can flag shirt and a kaf­fiyeh, the head­scarf often worn by Mid­dle Eastern men. One ben­e­fit of the var­ied wardrobe is that it helps dis­tin­guish the many pic­tures of New York artist Rod­ney Cuel­lar, who has posed for Doud reg­u­larly for 20 years. (The flag shirt and kaf­fiyeh are among his get-ups.)

Most of the works are oils on pa­per, al­though there are a few on linen, as well as sev­eral char­coals. Doud, who teaches at Amer­i­can Univer­sity, often po­si­tions his sub­jects in di­rect en­gage­ment with the viewer, in the man­ner of ID pho­tos and pho­to­re­al­ists such as Chuck Close. But Doud doesn’t work from photographs, and some­times de­picts gazes and poses at an an­gle to the pic­ture plane. The ap­proach is painterly yet pre­cise, and strongly con­veys spe­cific like­nesses. It’s not just the cloth­ing that gives Doud’s sub­jects their in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

Tim Doud: Pro­logue, 1996-2016 On view through April 1 at Gallery Nep­tune & Brown, 1530 14th St. NW; 202-986-1200. nep­tune­fin­eart.com.

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