Imagist Chuck Close

Imagist Chuck Close

Image Provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Chuck Close is globally famous for reinvigorating the art of portrait painting from the 1960s to the current day, a period when photography is challenging painting's dominance in this place, and succeeding in gaining appreciation as an artistic medium in its own right. Chuck Emerged from the 1970s painting movement of Photorealism also known as Super-Realism but later moved beyond its hyper-attentive rendering of a given subject for browsing how methodical, and system-driven portrait painting based on photography's underlying processes can suggest a vast range of artistic as well as philosophical concepts. Additionally, Chuck's struggles with partial paralysis and dyslexia, have suggested actual-life parallels to his professional field, as his methodical approaches of the painting are inseparable from his daily reckoning with the vulnerable of body and material condition.

Education and Early Work

Chuck enrolled at the University of Washington and graduated in 1962 and then he headed east to Yale for studying for a Master of Fine Arts from the university's Art and Architecture School. Drenched in the abstract globe, Close radically changed his concentrate at Yale, opting for what would become his signature style: photorealism. Using a procedure, he came to describe as knitting, Close made huge-format Polaroids of models that were re-created by him on big canvases.  This early work was bold, intimate, up-front, replicating the specific details of his selected faces, a fact made all the further compelling when considering that Close suffers from the neurological condition prosopagnosia, and face-blindness, which prevents him from recognizing faces. Furthermore, his pieces blurred the distinction between painting and photography in a way that had never been done before. His techniques were remarkable, in particular his app of color, which paved the way for the inkjet printer development. By the late 1960s, his photorealist pieces were kept in the New York City art scene. One of his good-known subjects from that period was of another young artistic talent, composer Philip Glass, whose portrait Close painted and showed in 1969. It has since gone on to become one of his most recognized pieces. He later painted choreographer Merce Cunningham and former President Bill Clinton, among others.


  • Photorealist painting of the 1970s that has celebrated the glossy and mirror like the photograph look, but after getting that ideal, Chuck turned to portraiture, suggesting it as a means to explore unsettling features of how self-identity is a composite and high constructed, if not finally conflicted fiction.
  • Dependence of close on the grid as a metaphor for his analytical procedures, which suggest that the whole is rarely more than the sum of its parts, is a conceptual equivalent for the analytical of the camera, serial approach to any given subject. Every his street-smart, as well as colorful Polaroid, is a time-based, fragmentary gesture as any arduous stroke of the painter's brush in the cloistered studio.
  • Close has worked with oil & acrylic painting, photography, mezzotint printing, and some more media. Shifting from one to the other, Chuck suggested that his intentions are timeless, while his tools or materials are interchangeable. Therefore, the chuck practice of portrait painting has remained surprisingly contemporary for over 40 years.
  • Slow of close, accumulative procedures, which enlist some abstract color apps in the service of producing realistic, and illusory portraits, most recently discovers application in the art of modern tapestry through a high illusionistic, computer helped method of industrial weaving that Close favors for its ability to suggest the hyper-real appearance of 19th-century glass photographs.

Current Work

Chuck's current way of painting originated with pastel portraits of him in 1981. These portraits are derived by Closes’ juxtaposing of different colors within every cube of the grid, a procedure critic Christopher Finch has colorfully referred to as a pimiento-stuffed olive. The loose handling of color, as well as the richness of the pastels, resulted in a lush, tactile surface, which Close maintains in his further recent work. Through more complex combinations of color and mark-making, Close's style of portraiture has grown closer to abstraction, which makes its integrity to certain features of the photographic medium all the additional notable. Close suffered from intense chest pains that led to the whole paralysis below the neck, In December 1988. A watershed occasion in his life that the artist called the Event. With his wife's dedication, who insisted that his physical therapy focuses on the painting act, chuck was capable of regaining movement and control in his upper body to permit him to keep working. Steadily strengthening his arms, he finished Alex II (1989) while his rehabilitation period. This painting he made is small than his work called as Alex II is which is just 36 x 30”. It expresses a sadness that the artist states as representative of his disputed mindset at the time. It exhibits, however, no loss of technique. Chuck made a studio to accommodate his wheelchair and also a 2-story, remote-control easel, where he developed his artistic processes with the studio assistants help. In his early 70s, while evolving in his artistic practices, chuck is applying his approaches to the production of high illusionistic imagery in the format of portraits of his friends, colleagues, and others. Using the modern computer helped methods of tapestry, Close is now able to approximate, in woven photos, the mirror such as illusionism characteristic of the 19th-century photographic glass daguerreotype. As if coming full circle, Close can be said to have reinvigorated the genre of Photorealism just when everybody had assumed it had been relegated to history.

The Legacy of Chuck Close

Coming of age at a moment when Abstract Expressionism was yet a major force in the art globe and, for some a rather inhibiting one, Close suggested that a return to a former category of painting as well as realistic portraiture, can be a viable route for development of the artist. Close married this premise to his early fascination for photographic realism, concentrating on the sequential and time-based procedure of transferring a photographic image to the canvas as the conceptual premise to suggest the construction of self-identity and the persona, as a highly tentative undertaking, indeed despite its apparently seamless outcome. This conceptual foundation of Close's work is his important legacy to his many admirers & successors. The genre of portraiture itself and the gridded, sequential conceptual artwork, have since the 1970s taken an active role in avant-garde circles. The mix of the photographic sequence and its painterly reconstruction is seen early on, for instance, in the 1970s, work of Jennifer Bartlett, and it resurfaces time and again in the work of more portrait-based photographers of the 1980s like Cindy Sherman, Cass Bird, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin, Kiki Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andres Serrano.

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