WA artist Matt Doust dies in LA

STEVE BEVIS ARTS EDITOR
Matt Doust with his portrait Humphrey Sutton which was inspired by a bout of insomnia. picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Perth artist Matt Doust, an Archibald Prize-finalist, has reportedly died at the age of 29.

Doust, best known for his large-close-up portrait of actress-model Gemma Ward, died after an epileptic seizure, according to the Los Angeles art gallery where he was due to open a new exhibition next month.

Doust had become a favourite of celebrity collectors, with Hollywood stars Jim Carrey and Mickey Rourke among those who have purchased his large, hyper-realistic youthful close-ups and semi-nude paintings.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Matt Doust who left us all much too early last evening at the young age of 29 years old,” Thinkspace Gallery posted in a tribute on Facebook.

“Sadly Matt battled epilepsy his whole life and a bad seizure took him from us,” the gallery wrote.

“He had just completed work on his new series of paintings for his debut US solo show with us and we are all still in a bit of shock at this sudden loss.”

The gallery said it hoped to open the show as planned on September 7 as a celebration of Doust’s life and work.

Doust was born in Los Angeles but grew up in the Perth Hills. He returned to California to live in 2011, the same year he made the Archibald Prize shortlist with the Ward painting, White Cocoon.

His last Perth exhibition was late last year at Venn Gallery.