Tuesday Art ATTACK- Chuck Close “Self portrait. 1997 ”
Posted on January 14 2015
Chuck Close was born on July 5th 1940 in the city of Monroe, Washington. Close had always possessed and interest in art and began to draw at a young age. He drifted towards creating photo realistic drawings and portraits. When he was 11 years old his father died, leaving the boy in the care of his mother Mildred Close. In Close's early years he describes the event of seeing a Jackson Pollock work in real life and was completely puzzled and thrown off by it. The event of seeing this painting helped Close to question everything he had thought that art was. After attending the local high school Close went to Everett Community College for two years. He then transferred and received his B.A. from the University of Washington in 1962. The following year he enrolled into Yale University's fine arts program from which he gained his M.F.A. in 1964. During his time at Yale he received a lot of attention from the faculty for being a gifted artist. When he left Yale Close's paintings were heavily figurative of drew from figurative inspiration. Feeling as though in a slump Close threw away all his materials so that he wouldn't get to comfortable and to force an artistic break through onto himself. He began creating similar works but in materials such as stamps. Finding out that he suffered from prosopagnosia (face blindness- cognitive disorder where face perception and the ability to recognize faces is impaired) in the 1970's, Close began to especially focus on portraits. He felt that the portraits helped him remember the faces of people. Close would construct these meticulously complex and accurate paintings by separating the painting into a grid of squares and carefully putting the different elements of each square together to form the whole. On December the 7th of 1988 gave a speech in New York City in order to honor local artists when he felt sting chest pains. He finished his speech and went to the nearby hospital where he suffered from a stroke and was paralyzed from neck down. The official diagnoses for what happened was spinal artery collapse. Close had to attend physical therapy in order to be able to move again and shortly after he was able to move his arms and legs somewhat. Close refers to this life altering tragedy in his life the "event". Despite his inability to move, Close strapped brushes to his wrists and continued to paint blocked out portraits with the help of an assistant. The more he painted in this new phase he adopted more and more techniques that took him away from the photo realistic side of art and more towards stylistic portraiture. Close is still alive and still painting, he is represented by the Pace Gallery in New York. He has also begun to mentor fellow artists who share similar interests in portraiture. Close has become quite popular and his works value has increased, mostly because of how long it takes him to finish a painting. Close's paintings are also very influenced by color theory and how colors interact with one another in order to achieve different effects; the way Close work with and uses color in his work is his biggest contribution on the art world today.