“Self-Portrait I, II, and III” – 2009. Oil on canvas.
Chuck Close is an American artist best known for his portraiture work, especially photorealism during the 1960s and 70s, a movement which developed in reaction to Minimalism and conceptual or performance art.
Close’s Photorealism involves painting from a photo onto a huge canvas, using a grid technique to ensure the painting is exact. Rather than each element being treated with the same focus, as in conventional painting, Photorealism mimics the focal points and blurred edges that are captured through the camera’s lens. This results in paintings which many viewers refuse to believe were created by hand.
His more recent paintings have leaned towards a more pointillist, faceted style, with the grid he uses to transfer the image from photographs to the canvas more pronounced, echoing benday dots used in CMYK printing processes.
In 1988, Chuck Close was left paralysed due to a rare spinal artery collapse. This did not spell the end to his career as an artist however, and he now paints with a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm. His subjects have ranged from self-portraits to celebrities and public figures, and he has expanded his artmaking to include printmaking, photography, and tapestries, however the treatment of the subject or media remain true to his photorealist beginnings.
“Leslie/Watercolour” – 1972-73. Watercolour on paper on canvas.
“Big Self-Portrait” – 1967-68. Acrylic on canvas.
“Mark” – 1979. Acrylic on canvas.
“Fanny/Fingerpainting” – 1985. Oil on canvas.
“President Bill Clinton” – 2006. Oil on canvas.
“Cindy” – 2006. Jacquard tapestry.
Images: Chuckclose.com and Pace Gallery.