Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, Washington) is renowned for his innovative conceptual portraiture. He began creating photorealist portraits from photographs in the late 1960s, using a grid to map each facial detail. In the late 1970s, he began shifting away from this approach, creating images with layers of autonomous shapes and colors that cohere into his subject’s face when viewed from a distance. Constantly revitalizing his practice, Close works across a variety of media, extending beyond painting to encompass printmaking, photography, collage, and tapestries based on Polaroids.
In 2000, Close was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations, and, in 2010, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 2016, he created twelve large-scale mosaic portraits for New York’s 86th Street subway station at Second Avenue.
New York—Pace is pleased to announce Chuck Close: RedYellow Blue an exhibition of new oil paintings on view at 534 West 25th Street from September 11 to October 17, 2015. A new catalogue with an essay by Nancy Princenthal will accompany the exhibition.
In his most recent work, Close continues his investigation of the grid as an organizational device, exploring minimal information processing in portraiture. Close abandons the expressionistic brushstrokes that have characterized his paintings since the 1990s. Rather, he applies multiple thin washes of paint in each cell of the grid, layering red, yellow and blue until they accumulate into extravagant full-color images.
The earliest works in the exhibition—portraits of Cecily Brown and Cindy Sherman—reveal the beginnings of this process, leaving the painting’s development visible.
Although the works represent a new direction for Close, they are also a revival and reconsideration of processes he first used in the 1970s when he first restricted his palette to three colors, coaxing different saturations of paint and hue into photorealist portraits.
When viewed up close, the portrayed subjects disintegrate into grids of color evocative of Paul Klee’s Magic Square paintings. These works attest to a heightened interest in the effects of color and suggest a new way of challenging the processes through which his portraits are constructed. It allows him to create distinct works from the same image through different saturations and juxtapositions of hue.
Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, Washington) studied at the University of Washington (BA, 1962) and at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture (BFA, 1963; MFA, 1964), receiving honorary degrees from both of his alma maters as well as numerous other institutions. Close is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has served on the board of many arts organizations. In 2010 President Barack Obama appointed Close to The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Close has been the subject of more than two hundred solo exhibitions in more than twenty countries, including major exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1980, 2005); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1993, 1998); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2004); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2007). His solo exhibition Chuck Close Photographs was recently presented at Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, and will be on view at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from September 11 to December 6, 2015.
Close’s work can be found in more than eighty public collections. Chuck Close: Paintings, 1967 – present, a digital catalogue raisonné, was released by Artifex Press in 2014.
Close lives and works in New York and Miami Beach.
Pace has represented Close since 1977. This is his sixteenth solo exhibition at the gallery.
2015. Pace Gallery. Paperback
52 pages: 94 color illustrations; 14 ¼ x 12 inches