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Australian artist Matt Doust dies in Los Angeles, aged 29

Australian artist Matt Doust, whose portrait of model and actor Gemma Ward was a finalist in the 2011 Archibald Prize, has died in the US after reportedly having a seizure.

He was 29.

Thinkspace, an LA art gallery, where the Perth-raised artist was due to open his debut US exhibition, posted the following tribute on its Facebook page on Thursday: "Our hearts go out to the family of Matt Doust who left us all much too early. Sadly Matt battled epilepsy his whole life and a bad seizure took him from us sometime yesterday evening."

Doust's debut US exhibition was due to open on September 7. "We hope to be able to have the show still take place as a celebration of Matt's life and work and to all come together and just honour what an amazing soul he was," the gallery said.

Known for his hyper-realist portraiture, Hollywood celebrities Jim Carrey and Mickey Rourke are said to have purchased Doust's paintings.

After sitting for Doust in 2011, Ward said: "I think he's extremely talented, he's going to go so far and I was very honoured to work with him."

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"Just the alignment of every feature on her face intrigues me," Doust said of his subject at the time.

Herald art critic John McDonald described Doust's mask-like portrait of Ward, White Cocoon, as an "effective way of portraying an actor - as a tabula rasa upon which a character is constructed".

Doust was born in Santa Monica, California. He grew up in Perth, before moving back to the US in 2011.

In a press release for his upcoming exhibition, Thinkspace said Doust's "dramatic human landscapes tap into the subtle revelations of physical expression, drawing the viewer's attention to the subject's minutest details".

"Doust captures what stirs beneath the skins of his subjects. With great technical facility, and a genuinely unparalleled refinement and detail, he is able to animate an inanimate surface with an evasive internal life."

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