Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ART STAR: Chuck Close

b. 1941, Monroe, WA
Lives and works in Bridgehampton, NY
Represented by Pace Gallery in NYC since 1977.

from Wikipedia
Close is known for his massive-scale portraits. 

Big Self-Portrait (1968-1969)
107.5" x 83.5" (app. 9' x 7')
Most of his early works are very large portraits based on photographs (Photorealism or Hyperrealism technique) of family and friends, often other artists. In 1962, he received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle. He then attended graduate school at Yale University, where he received his MFA in 1964. After Yale, he lived in Europe for a while on a Fulbright grant. When he returned to the US, he worked as an art teacher at the University of Massachusetts.  Though a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, he has continued to paint and produce work that remains sought after by museums and collectors.

Close had been known for his skillful brushwork as a graduate student at Yale University. As he explained in a 2009 interview with the Cleveland Ohio Plain Dealer, he made a choice in 1967 to make art hard for himself and force a personal artistic breakthrough by abandoning the paintbrush. "I threw away my tools", Close said. "I chose to do things I had no facility with. The choice not to do something is in a funny way more positive than the choice to do something. If you impose a limit to not do something you've done before, it will push you to where you've never gone before."

Close suffers from Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, in which he is unable to recognize faces. By painting portraits, he is better able to recognize and remember faces.  Listen to this interview on PBS News Hour (or you can read the transcript:  Close

Village Voice Cover Story on Chuck Close


On the subject, Close has said, "I was not conscious of making a decision to paint portraits because I have difficulty recognizing faces. That occurred to me twenty years after the fact when I looked at why I was still painting portraits, why that still had urgency for me. I began to realize that it has sustained me for so long because I have difficulty in recognizing faces."

Chuck Close on MoMA
Chuck Close on
Walker Art Center Collections
Chuck Close is represented by Pace Gallery.

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