Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Philip Glass, 1969
(part of his first series of B&W portraits)
Chuck Close

In keeping with my photo-realist theme, one cannot leave out the work of Chuck Close. I grew up seeing a Chuck Close painting every time I visited the Albright Knox Art Gallery and was always fascinated by the stature and detail in the painting. Close's portraits are of family and friends (many well known artists). Chuck Close is good friends with Philip Glass and produced many portraits of Glass over the years, most from the same photograph of a young Glass with tousled hair.

The image here gives you a better understanding of the commanding size of most of Close's portraits (though Close is 6' 3"). Using the a grid in which to translate a small polaroid to a large-scale painting, Close later on begins to bring the grid out into the forefront, treating each square on its own (with swirls, patterns etc.) but still pulling together a final representational image (his technical abilities were severely debiliated after a sudden blood clot left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair in 1988 and he brought himself back as a painter and continued his portraits on the same grand scale).
The grid makes one think of the pixelation that is so common in technology today, yet Close remains true to his form and is well-known as a techna-fobe.

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