Iris, Print-out Portrait, 1969
Irish, Canadian, American, 1935
offset photolithograph on plastic-coated wove paper
46.6 x 65.1 cm each
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16703.1-9)
© Les Levine / ARS (New York) / SODRAC (Montréal)
Les Levine, a renowned conceptual and video artist (who painted and sculpted as well), has long had a profound interest in how the media affects society and culture, and has often used its tools and methods to communicate his ideas. By presenting his image inside a television screen instead of a conventional frame, he both refers to his own work in video and updates the traditional self-portrait for a public that was used to absorbing information transmitted by the mass media. The title, "Iris", refers to the adjustable plates that regulate the aperture of a camera lens, controlling the exposure and aiding in sharpness. The iris was used to create the gradation in lighting of the three different views of Levine's portrait as they progress towards close-ups, filling the screen.