Chuck Close – New Work, New Show, New York

I’ve written about Chuck Close before. He’s amazing, in short. He has worked with really large portraits of peoples’ faces worked in different kinds of grid treatments since the 60s, really playing with the line between theory and craft. It’s a fascinating exploration of what it means to be a painter in the contemporary art world, especially given his longevity as an artist and the great decline of painting as a force in art since the 60s. Imagine my excitement when I came across this great article in Design Milk, as Chuck Close is having a new show at Pace Gallery in New York!

Chuck Close - Phil (2011-12) - work & detail

Chuck Close – Phil (2011-12) – work & detail

Arguably the greatest painter alive, Chuck Close presents amazing new work at Pace Gallery in New York. His ability to calculate color is super-human and his perseverance in the face of dyslexia, prosopagnosia (face-blindness), and partial quadriplegia (!!!) is nothing short of incredible. Google him to your heart’s content…. though I would suggest starting with The Colbert Report)
– David Behringer for Design Milk

Obviously Close is still working with new approaches as this is essentially his hallmark, but when I read this, my jaw literally dropped open:

His newest process: computer-aided watercolor. For these, Close selected and arranged swatches of watercolor squares from over 14,000 he hand painted separately. The finished works are printed on watercolor paper WITH watercolor paint in several layers of ONLY cyan, magenta & yellow. Inches from these, you can see the halo of colors that builds up each square.

Chuck Close - Kara (2012) work & detail

Chuck Close – Kara (2012) work & detail

UH WHAT. The mind boggles. Once again I am both inspired and awestruck.

For those of you lucky enough to be able to go, the show is currently on until Dec. 22 at Pace Gallery on West 25th in NYC. For the rest of us, there’s the internet and books. If you are the bookish type, Chuck Close: Work is a recent release that not only covers Close’s entire career but talks about his work and process in great detail. From the reader reviews:

“Chuck Close: WORK” is a definitive piece that fills in any small holes about the story of this artist that might be obscured in some out of print catalog, as well as talking heavily about his process. If you are in the market for a book that gives the full Chuck Close biography while supplementing itself with beautiful illustrations and plenty of dialog about his process, do not hesitate to purchase this book.