Chuck CLOSE, Lyle Enlarge 1 /1

Chuck CLOSE

United States of America born 1940

Lyle 2003 Materials & Technique: prints, stencil colour screenprint

Dimensions: sheet 166.4 h x 136.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia, Inc., New York, NY, USA, in memory of William Lieberman, 2006
Accession No: NGA 2006.434
Subject: Art style: Photo-realism
Image rights: © Chuck Close

In 1966 Chuck Close began to use photography as part of the process of making art. In the following year he moved to New York, where he created the first painted series of portraits of himself and his friends, each having the appearance of a mugshot. These images were never psychological portraits, but were about process and producing satisfying compositions in a Super Realist style.

Close later developed this into a more complex style, exemplified by the screenprint Lyle. He used 149 colours and as many hand-cut stencilled screens to make Lyle, demonstrating a mastery of screenprinting technique. From a distance the photographic origin of the image of the young man staring directly at the viewer is apparent. In layer after layer of colour, the form of the sitter and the background slowly emerges. Close emphasises the photographic element of the work by highlighting the dots that form the image and rendering them as abstract forms—squares, diamonds, circles and ovals. The work plays on the relationship between the real and the abstract, the technical and the artist’s hand.

Like all of the artist’s sitters, the African-American artist Lyle Ashton Harris was a friend of Close.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

In 1966 Chuck Close began to use photography as part of the process of making art. In the following year he moved to New York, where he created the first painted series of portraits of himself and his friends, each having the appearance of a mug shot. These images are not psychological portraits, but are about process and the production of satisfying compositions in a Super Realist style.

Close later developed a more complex style, exemplified by the screenprint Lyle. He used 149 colours and as many hand-cut stencilled screens to make the print, demonstrating a mastery of screenprinting technique. From a distance the photographic origin of the image of the young man staring directly at the viewer becomes apparent. In layer after layer of colour, the form of the sitter and the background slowly emerges. Close emphasises the photographic element of the work by highlighting the dots that form the image and rendering them as abstract forms—squares, diamonds, circles and ovals. The work plays on the relationship between the real and the abstract, the technical and the artist’s hand.

Like all Close’s sitters, the African–American artist Lyle Ashton Harris was a friend of the artist.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014