Chuck Close

Chuck Close

Chuck Close is known for his innovative conceptual portraiture, depicting his subjects, which are transposed from photographs, into visual data organized by gridded compositions.

 

Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Close used art as a means of navigating a learning disability. As a student at the University of Washington (BA, 1962), and then at Yale (BFA 1963; MFA 1964), he began to emulate the styles of Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, considering himself a third-wave Abstract Expressionist and as he explored this vocabulary he pivoted from biomorphism to figuration.

Exploring different modes of representation, Close began in the late 1970s to make explicit use of a grid system or an irregular grid based on a physical relationship to his support. The resulting works read like pixelated mosaics wherein the viewer’s perception blends distinct areas of juxtaposed colour—be it layered shapes of colours, fingerprints, or lines—into a unified image.

In 1988, Close was paralyzed following a rare case of spinal artery collapse. Through rehabilitation, he regained his ability to paint by using a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm. Beginning in 1991, he continued his examinations of portraiture through productions of silk tapestries and, since 2003, has furthered this investigation, producing editions of large-scale Jacquard tapestry portraits.

Constantly revitalizing his practice by challenging modes of representation, Close’s oeuvre encompasses various forms of painting, printmaking, drawing, collage, daguerreotype and Polaroid photography, and, most recently, tapestries.

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377 Saint-Paul Street West
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Canada
 
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