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Shayla, Oil on linen, 40" x50", 2005
Washington Post Art Critic Blake Gopnik review
Gopnik says: Regarding painting "Shayla" a finalist at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006 at National Portrait Gallery DC
If it's ugly, make it hurt...If a portrait wants to prove it's more than empty flattery, it had better go much further than just throwing in some wrinkles – as Doug Auld does in a close-up of a burn victim named Shayla, whose black skin is a tight mask of scars. It's one of the only pictures in the exhibition that need their links to the grand tradition of painted portraiture: By making a monumental oil painting of a badly disfigured face, Auld evokes the absence of such faces from the art of the past – and from the larger social consciousness that past represents.
On top of that, the simple freak-show voyeurism implicit in this painting is so vexed, it's compelling. Shayla seems proud to present her damaged self to us in a portrait; should we also be proud of staring at it?