Interface, an exhibition of portraits of idealized siblings by Australian artist Cherry Hood, questions the objectified male gaze of traditional Western art. She deliberately turns the tables in her technically brilliant paintings. Young boys with chocolate-stained lips are offered up for consumption, but something is inexplicably wrong in Hood's photo-realistic representations. Depicted in freckly paint, bruised shadows and drips of treacley varnish, the unformed physiognomy of the subjects suggests unformed personality. But these boys aren't real anyway. They are amalgams. Hood's work is the result of technology used in a cosmetic way.
Hood paints from photographs. Using a computer, she combines family snapshots with pictures of digitally enhanced fashion models and movie-stars. Her monumental portraits of fictional children are then given Christian names ? Harry, Maurice, Christopher ? as if to make them more familiar, more flesh-and-blood.
Gallery-owner Stephen Mori recognizes the disquieting nature of these hybrid portraits, which pander to our current unease with child subjects. He notes that "Cherry's previous show was raided by the police who wanted to know the source of the material."
Hood implies evil where no evil exists. The success of her chilling paintings is that they are obsessive without feeling exploitative. What at first might seem bland becomes ambiguous and sinister, almost forensic.