After he began working with a large-format Polaroid camera, Close got interested in photographs as artifacts in their own right, rather than merely as maps of information. His tenacity was formulated at an early age. Art Center Acquisition Fund, 1969. His oversized, closely-cropped images demand attention. While the visual effect resembles the post-impressionist pointillism of Georges Seurat, Close himself refers to Abstract Expressionism.
He feels he was compelled to make portraits by his need to commit faces to memory. Pace has represented Chuck Close since 1977. His systematic approach could also be compared with the one of minimal and process artists. He used a splint to enable him to hold a paintbrush and a mechanized easel to raise lower and rotate his canvas to a suitable position for painting. They also seem to set him far back in time. This piece also resembles mosaics. Following its presentations in Minneapolis and San Francisco, the exhibition will tour to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford.
Tragically, on December 7th 1988 he was struck by a devastating affliction that he now refers to as the 'Event' - he suffered a spinal stroke which left him paralysed from the neck down and dependant on a wheelchair for mobility. Here, a portrait of artist-colleague Andres Serrano, notorious for his irreverent Piss Christ 1987 photograph that continues to roil conservative Christians, beams triumphant from the weave, which is deftly composed of numerous threads of various colors intertwining with such precision that the human eye is virtually seduced into believing that this is a real man pressing his face to a window. In truth he is all and none of these. Viewed individually, each grid teems with playful shapes - lozenges, loops, swirls, Xs, and circles - executed in intensified color. The starkness was replaced in some of these new portraits with a diffused quality, reminiscent of the Impressionists. The holograms serve mainly as reminders that Close's interests do not center on realism, photo- or otherwise.
Perceiving it as the means for exploration of the construction and invention of self-identity, the artist has produced an oeuvre of extraordinary complexity with this seemingly straightforward subject matter. The subjects of his portraits are drawn from himself, his family and friends most of whom are fellow artists. During the 1980s, Close started using the wet pulp paper material and adopted it to the canvas. I guess there should be an options to choose as it's very difficult to fill the blank correctly. In a sense, the art world caught up with Close when it began to fixate on issues of representation in the late '70s and early '80s. Despite various deconstructions of the portrait, Close never lost sight of the image and its essence. More information is also available about the and the.
Each of the individual units of the grid is a miniature abstract painting unto itself, comprising a panoply of colors and shapes that seem to have jumped directly to the canvas from the artist's palette. We can see the makings of illusionism more clearly than the likeness itself. His playful grids converge, when viewed from a distance, to create a powerful portrait, with an image as elusive as his earlier work. Nine of eleven pieces from the series are in museum collections, while John is the only painting still in private hands. The dots, diagonals, curves and dollops of paint in the painting form units acting as small abstract paintings within the whole.
The result is a photorealistic image of a face but it also becomes its own account of how it was made with every square inch of the painting as significant as every other. This means his knowledge of art is always expanding. He first created the monumental black and white acrylic painting in 1969 and continued to explore the subject through another twenty works based on the same photograph. Created in almost pointillist manner, the whole becomes recognizable once observed from a distance. They looked like portraits but they felt like analyses, not of individuals, but of information about their appearance. From a distance it is indistinguishable from a high resolution photograph.
The numerous, individual touches of oil pigment gradually creating the appearance of supple flesh lends to the painting a sense of intimacy so appropriate to the underlying relationship between artist and his chosen subject. This is especially true of images of his artist friends, such as Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, which offer a glimpse of the relationship shared between the artist and his subjects. By the 1980's he had grown into an artist of national stature. He draws these from a vocabulary of simple shapes that include squares, triangles, right-angles, doughnuts, lozenges and 'hotdogs'. Phil Portrait of Philip Glass from 1983 is one of five unique wet pulp paper pieces from the early 1980s. All great portraits tell you more about the artist than they do about the sitter. Despite the continuous shift between media, materials and tools, his conceptual intentions are timeless.
He created it while lying on his stomach on a rolling scaffolding above the painting that was placed on the floor. He controls the viewers interaction with the image in a more measured way. The only commission he has ever accepted was his 1996 portrait of Clinton. It is painted 'with about half a teaspoon of black paint' which is thinned down to the consistency of dirty water and applied with brushes and an airbrush. He was instrumental in reviving the art of portraiture as a credible subject matter at a time when figurative art looked dead in the water.
The insouciant stare of the young man in Big Self-Portrait makes a striking counterpart to the stolid, knowing gaze of the older Close as represented in this self-portrait of 1997. It is both easy and fun to alternate your readings of the image but neither detract from the breathtaking impact of the work. Concentrating on process and form, he has let content arise willy-nilly from his materials and techniques and their flicker against the cultural background. With the works that he has created since the 'Event', his use of the grid is more explicit. In order to facilitate the process, Close wore cellophane filters over his eyeglasses in order to view marks in one color at a time. The 1967 piece is a faithful reproduction of the subject, frozen in time. Almost all of his works are of faces, incidentally Close can not recognize faces.
In contrast, each of the thousands of squares that make up his current portraits are small Op Art paintings. The painting is a true reflection of his reference photo - technically, no hair is misrepresented. Although he was painting portraits in a similar style before the 'Event', his brushwork is now less constrained by the grid and his color palette is more dynamic. He began to work on large scale monochrome portraits in a Photorealist style, although the term had not yet been invented. Constantly revitalizing his practice, Close works across a variety of media, extending beyond painting to encompass printmaking, photography, collage, and tapestries based on Polaroids.