Essay beginnings – Chuck Close

Posted: April 29, 2010 in Certificate of Design & Visual Arts, Practice in Context, Research

Chuck Close once said, “Are you looking at me?  I’m the only one here.  So I painted myself.[1]”  This quote is a statement about his painting style and what I believe the artist wants to portray with his imagery.  Within this essay I will discuss the context surrounding this statement and how it relates to Close’s style and methodology.

To this artist the person posing for his portrait is not his only focus.  To demonstrate this we need to look closer to the painting in figure 1.  You find the overall image begins to blur and lose clarity, but are then surprised to see all the individual frames that make up this painting, and that each of these frames is an entity with its own space.  They make a statement that they should be there and do have a value in their own right.  In an interview Close once said, “From the beginning (what I) wanted to do was mitigate against the standard hierarchy of the portrait”[2].  Simply put, he wanted the subject of the portrait to be no more important than the process by which the painting itself was completed – all parts are to be equal.  This is the context that surrounds Close’s works and practice.


[1] David Tseklenis Chuck Close-a portrait in progress.  1

[2] Engberg S and Grynsztejn M Navigating the Self , 2

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