Lyle Starr takes 2-D design to sumptuous extremes. With meticulous care, he paints fields of overlapping silhouettes: flat, seemingly translucent shadows of animals, human figures, cartoon characters, cars and trucks, plants and bugs. Where these shapes overlap, colors mix and you have the kaleidoscopic illusion of disembodied transparencies layered in an indeterminately shifty and luminous space.
Color schemes vary from canvas to canvas: the irregular patterning of mossy greens, woody browns and grays in ”Woodpile” resembles military camouflage. ”Songbook” ranges from powder blue to medium deep purple, producing a watery effect. And lushest of all is ”Parade,” in which the shapes of many goofy cartoon figures are realized in a full tropical spectrum of color.
When you get close to Mr. Starr’s pictures, the spacey translucency turns to a sensuous opacity. The thick, richly colored acrylic paint is sanded to a matte porosity that seems almost to sparkle in places. There is a certain retro quality to Mr. Starr’s pictures — a knowing marriage of Pop and 60’s-style abstraction — and an element of Surrealism, but mainly it is the perfect wedding of the optical and the tactile that makes them so appealing.
Ken Johnson, New York Times
His drawings and paintings are in the permanent collection of the MoMA; the Guggenheim Museum; and the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, MD.