October 3, 2013 - November 3, 2013
Continuing his lifelong exploration of experimental portraiture, artist Chuck Close’s Tapestries series features the faces of internationally renowned artists woven into these mural-sized textiles. To create them, several of Close’s iconic black-and-white daguerreotypes were digitally scanned to capture and magnify the dense, detailed layers of silver particles in each of the photographic plates. The resulting digital “weave files” became blueprints for these imposing textiles that were expertly woven by Magnolia Editions on electronic Jacquard looms.
In a 2010 interview, Close explained his preoccupation with portraiture as well as the importance of his labor-intensive approach to artmaking: “I have prosopagnosia, which is face blindness. I never recognize people. [...] When I flatten an image out I can commit it to memory, and as I build this image I am embedding that image into my brain, and I have an almost photographic memory for anything that is flat. There’s no question that I was driven to make portraits in an effort to really cement these images and make them something that I could retain. But nothing gets made without a process. It’s just a process that you choose.”
As a result of Close’s particular process, every line, freckle, or slight tonal variation in a subject’s face translates here into thousands of colored threads, much in the way a pointillist painting is comprised of countless individual dots. Through this inventive use of textiles, Close has yet again broadened the conceptual and material possibilities of the composite image, with mesmerizing results.
Born in 1940 in Monroe, Washington, Chuck Close is best known for his large-scale, photorealist paintings of the human face, although his practice extends beyond painting to encompass printmaking, photography, and, most recently, tapestries based on his photographic images. In 2000, Close was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Close is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations, and was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Close’s work can be found in the collections of numerous institutions, including those of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London, and the Walker Art Center. He is represented by Pace Gallery in New York.