Work on Monday: “Roy II” by Chuck Close

This week, Work on Monday celebrates two East End artists through painter and subject. “Roy II” by Chuck Close, who is now showing at Guild Hall in East Hampton, features a portrait of late Southampton Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. It is a testament to both artists—immortalized together in one large painting.

Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

Roy II
Chuck Close (b. 1940)
Oil on canvas
102 x 84 inches, 1994

Close magically creates both photo-realistic (from afar) and abstract paintings (close up) using his now famous style of breaking an image down into cells of various colors. Here he paints his aging friend and fellow artist Roy Lichtenstein three years before his untimely death at age 74 in 1997. By using Lichtenstein as his subject, Close draws even more of a spotlight on his use of marks to deconstruct an image—just as his Pop artist subject did with his dot paintings that grew to prominence in the 1960s.

It’s hard not to marvel at Close’s accomplishment, especially when viewing these stunning, large works in person. The artist has a masterful understanding of the human brain and eye, and these blobs of color, rings and oblong shapes bring Lichtenstein’s lifelike visage to light. It appears wet and almost glistening, or vibrating, yet the marks are flat and imprecise. It is absolutely worth your time to drop by Guild Hall to see this work live.

Visit guildhall.org to learn more.

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