104.1 cm x 79.4 cm (41 in. x 31 1/4 in.)
Chuck Close (aka Charles Thomas Close)
(Monroe, Washington, 1940 – )
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Jack S. Blanton, Sr., 2009
In the 1960s, Chuck Close invented a new method for depicting faces. Using himself and his friends as models, he began creating portraits by dividing photographs into grids and systematically transferring the visual information, one square at a time, to huge gridded canvases. Close attributes his nearly four-decades-long preoccupation with portraiture to a condition with which he is afflicted known as face blindness, which prevents him from recognizing people; he paints the portraits, in part, to help cement loved ones’ likenesses in his mind.
Close’s early works were intended to closely resemble, when viewed from a distance, the source photographs. Over the years, his canvases have become more abstracted and painterly and the grid units have been enlarged to draw attention to his process. This evolution has also typified the equally original prints he has made for more than 30 years, as is apparent in this self-portrait. Though each square resembles a small abstract painting, filled with lines, circles, squares, or organic forms, the sum coalesces, unmistakably and almost miraculously, into a face.