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Biography of Chuck Close, its Career and Works

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    Chuck Close Chuck Close A Portrait in Progress is an extremley interesting and educational short film that walks the viewer through the life of the esteemed artist, Chuck Close. The movie explains the feats that Close overcame as well as the ongoing stuggles from his disability. Furthermore, this film depicts the changes in Close’s artwork and the reasoning behind his form of expression. The story of Chuck Close belongs to both the world of art and to the annals of human triumph over adversity.

    Originally drawn to painting as a means of dealing with a childhood learning disability, Close began his career by creating massive black-and-white portraits, astonishingly detailed and sometimes brutally realistic. Having caught the attention of critics and the public, he went on to experiment with different artistic influences — Impressionism, computer-generated imagery, cubism, mosaic — while staying true to certain self-imposed rules for his portraiture. In 1988, when the 48-year-old Close’s spinal artery collapsed and left him paralyzed from the neck down, he feared he would never paint again.

    After a difficult fight to regain movement, however, Close has succeeded not only in painting again, but in continuing to grow as an artist and in receiving critical raves for his work. Director Marion Cajori’s compelling documentary explores Close’s inspiring life story while showcasing his vibrant and thought-provoking portraits. While watching this film I learned a lot of Close and gained a deeper understanding of his artwork. The movie teaches the audience about how Close developed his career and about his personal life and struglgles.

    Chuck Close is an American artist renowned for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face. He is best known for his large-scale, Photo-Realist portraits. Close was born July, 5 1940 in Monroe Washington. Like most artist’s Close demonstrated his artistic talents as a child. At the age of 14 he saw Jackson Pollock’s exhibition of abstract paintings and became inspired. Close received an education from the University of Washington School of Art and the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. After Close completed his college education he was awarded a scholarship to study in Vienna.

    Following his studies he began teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. While teaching Close gradually began to abandon his original style of Abstract Expressionism and venture to create something new. Close started to oppose mainstream Abstract Expressionism and begun to recreate the idea of portraitures and give them new depths. Throughout his career, Close continued to concentrate on portraits based on photographs he had taken. In addition to self-portraits, the portraits were usually of friends, many of whom were prominent in the art world.

    Chuck Close is a photorealist who transformed realism. Close strictly paints from photos in which he transfers the photo to the canvas. To assist Close with the transfer he uses grids and then he adds extraordinary details throughout the process. All the paintings are done on grids, his work built from units. As Close says, this structural approach to a painting is a product of his nature: “I really need to break things down to a manageable and solvable problem. My work has always been driven by self-imposed limitations. ” His work quality is extremely lifelike. Close is a master of detail.

    He pays in-depth attention to skin, wrinkles and hair. By capturing each and every wrinkle and pore he creates an undeniable realism in his paintings. These images represent a very human, flawed view of the subjects, given the scale of attention given to imperfections. Close started off his works using black and white images but eventually evolved into colors. Over the years, Close’s works have evolved from harsh black-and-white images to colorful and brightly patterned canvases. In the late 1970s, rediscovered color and over time developed and transformed the idea of color into his own style.

    He began using colored dots of different sizes and unique combinations. Close uses three colors (red, blue, and yellow) he created countless other colors. This method is similar to Pointillism which the concept is to create a solid space using dots of two or more colors in an area. These colored dots mix from a distance creating a new color. “Color isn’t just there in the tube for Close; you make it on the canvas. And color isn’t something you plan in your head and then try to copy; you find color, through the painting process itself. ” Close began to experiment with color and a variety of different media’s and techniques.

    One of these techniques involved the printing process. Close would use only cyan, magenta, and yellow and apply one layer at a time over the canvas. Another innovative technique was his fingerprint series. Close would ink his thumb and forefinger and press them to the canvas to create a varied range of grays. Viewed up close, the whorled patterns of his fingerprints can easily be seen; from a distance the method is unrecognizable, and the fingerprints merge to generate an illusionistic whole. Artists regularly altar their styles and change their views.

    In 1988 Chuck Close has a spinal blood clot that rendered him a quadriplegic. Unable to move his arms or legs, Close subsequently changed his style. Close now paints with a brush clamped between his teeth. His portraits, photos, and canvases are gridded off by assistants and he uses his mouth to paint. He now uses a technique known as grisaille and pointillism within the grids. These techniques are similar to the ones used by Impressionists and Pointillists. The result is still a canvas of mini-paintings, which when viewed from a distance are seen as a single or unified image.

    Close is continuing to explore the world of color and is experimenting to discover new techniques. Chuck Close has seriously impacted the art world in multiple different ways. His works have continued to stun the public and give new meaning to expressionism. He offers a different type of art and people are not used to seeing. Not only has Close impacted the world with his actual artwork but he has also inspired people to rise above their handicaps. Close’s determination and passion for painting assisted him to overcome and find a way to continue doing something that he loved.

    Chuck Close A Portrait in Progress is a great film. The movie kept my attention and was enjoyable to watch. One of the best things about this video is that the viewer gets to see Chuck Close in his studio painting and talking about art-making. He is shown working on one of his huge self-portraits from its beginning, when he chooses the large-scale photo reference and lays out a grid on a canvas, through the painting’s completion. This was a great opportunity to see inside the life of one of our most talented and admired modern artists.

    I highly recommend this video to anyone interested in learning more about Close. Works cited “Chuck Close Biography. ” Biography. com. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc, 2010. Web. 05 May 2011. . Greenberg, Jan, and Sandra Jordan. Chuck Close, up Close. New York: DK Ink, 2000. Print. Katzman, Mark, and John Clay. “Chuck Close FINDING THE COLOR WORLD. ” Bhag – Publish Art Culture Philosophy Interviews. Web. 05 May 2011. . Ravin, J. G. , and P. M. Odell. “Pixels and Painting: Chuck Close and the Fragmented Image. ” Archives of Ophthalmology 126. 8 (2008): 1148-151. Print.

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