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Fri Jul 5, 2019, 12:13 PM

Happy 79th birthday, Chuck Close.

Chuck Close

Charles Thomas "Chuck" Close (born July 5, 1940) is an American painter, artist and photographer. He makes massive-scale photorealist portraits. Close often paints abstract portraits of himself and others, which hang in collections internationally. Close also creates photo portraits using a very large format camera. Even though a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, he has continued to paint.

By "massive-scale photorealist portraits," they mean like this:



Fanny/Fingerpainting
1985
oil on canvas
overall: 259.1 x 213.4 x 6.3 cm (102 x 84 x 2 1/2 in.)
Gift of Lila Acheson Wallace
1987.2.1
Not on View

OVERVIEW

Fanny/Fingerpainting, a portrait of Close's grandmother-in-law, represents one of the largest and most masterly executions of a technique the artist developed in the mid-l980s. That technique involved the direct application of pigment to a surface with the artist's fingertips. By adjusting the amount of pigment and the pressure of his finger on the canvas, Close could achieve a wide range of tonal effects. Typically, he worked from a black and white photograph which he would divide into many smaller units by means of a grid. He then transposed the grid onto a much larger canvas and meticulously reproduced each section of it. The result is a monumental, close-up view that forces an uncomfortable intimacy upon the viewer.

Seen from a distance, the painting looks like a giant, silver-toned photograph that unrelentingly reveals every crack and crevice of the sitter's face. Closer up, the paint surface dissolves into a sea of fingerprints that have an abstract beauty, even as they metaphorically suggest the withering of the sitter's skin with age. The fingerpaintings provide a far more literal record of the artist's touch than most abstract expressionist brushwork -- but are at the same time dictated by an abstract, distinctly impersonal system.

More:

https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-ChuckClose.pdf

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