"The Outwin 2016" Finalist: Tim Doud

Man wearing red white and blue pom poms around his neck
American Prize / Tim Doud / 2014 / Collection of the Artist / © Tim Doud

Out of over 2,500 entries in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, 43 artists have their work shown in the exhibition “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today.” Read more about one of the finalists, Tim Doud. 

What about the sitter inspired you?

I’ve been working with this particular sitter since 1996. I’ve painted him nearly twenty times. He is an artist and set designer with a lot of opinions about art and aesthetics. He probably started reading Architectural Digest when he was six. The collaboration has grown and changed since the initial paintings and drawings.  He also fits into my wider practice of making multiple iterations of the same subject.

How did the sitter inspire this specific portrait?

American Prize is part of a series called “The Rodney Paintings”.  I engage portraiture in a variety of ways in my work in order to examine different aspects of the genre.  The conceptual underpinning in the “Rodney” series concerns the model’s role in the construction of his portrait/identity. In this series the model establishes much of the content of the portrait. This sitter comes fully loaded he has a broad interest in popular culture and fashion, gender, sexuality and race.

What made you decide to depict this sitter as you did?

I’m providing Rodney with a place of projection in this series of work.  He makes many of the significant decisions in each portrait.  He decides what he wears, how he sits, how the work is lighted and the title of the painting.  I make compositional decisions and through my interest in his choices, establish points of emphasis in each painting.  The construction of the painting is largely collaborative.

What relationship do the materials have to the meaning?

I am very interested in public and art world perceptions of the painted portrait.  I engage in the seemingly anachronistic practice of observational painting to explore what it means to make a portrait from life (today) and how that endeavor is viewed in contemporary culture.  I think perceptive painting carries a lot of baggage (good and bad) and I’m interested in that baggage.

How does the piece fit within your larger body of work?

American Prize is at the center of my practice. It relates to both the figurative and non-figurative work in my painting practice.  Of all of my recent portraits, this work relates most strongly to the abstract works that I make.  Rodney has provided me with a large number of incongruences in this work.  I think of George Trow’s book The Context of No Context.  All of the elements of the painting only make sense in the context of the painting itself.  These things don’t belong together but they are brought together – a convoluted set of choices, operating much like database searches and the fashion industry that impacts us all so greatly.  Our culture borrows and collages many things without giving much thought about the context (cultural and otherwise) of the things we refer to and borrow.

You can see Doud’s work in “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today,” up now through Jan. 8, 2017. Also, be sure to vote in our People’s Choice Competition.

The artist Tim Dowd standing in front of his artwork, in The Outwin exhibition
Tim Dowd and his work American Prize.