Essay on Chuck Close

This essay has a total of 564 words and 2 pages.

Chuck Close

Chuck Close (born 1940) is an American photorealist specializing in close-up portraits and
self-portraits. Close is one of the very few modern realists or photorealists who focus on
the human face. In 1988, in mid-career, Close was paralyzed due to a blood clot in his
spinal column. He regained partial use of his arms, and was able to return to painting
after developing techniques which allowed him to work from a wheelchair.All of Close's
works are based on photographs he takes himself. Close always follows the same guidelines
in planning a painting. The source photograph is a tightly cropped head and shoulder shot.
The subject is a family member or friend. The finished work is always titled by the
subject's first name alone (with the exception of "Self-Portrait"). This decision was
intended to project an aura of anonymity, allowing viewers to approach the work without
preconceived ideas about the sitter.Close's working method is extremely labor-intensive.
He begins by dividing his source photograph into a grid and creating a corresponding grid
on the canvas. He then meticulously transcribes the image onto the canvas square by
square, proceeding from the top left to the bottom right. Some of the largest canvases
contain thousands of squares; Close completes all of his paintings by hand. Given the
painstaking nature of this work, some of the earlier large-scale paintings took up to
fourteen months to complete.Close's work falls into two periods, the early and the middle,
in which he is now fruitfully engaged. It is easy to divide the two periods on either side
of Close's 1988 stroke that left him unable to hold a brush. (He paints with his brush
tied to his hand by a metal and Velcro device.) Close started to work with bolder, more
expressive and colorful marks before his great physical trauma. The new work is both the
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