Chuck Close

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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 same; they're recognizable as works by Close and could be by no one else He still uses the grid and he still paints heads....
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