Chuck Close..Reviewed Essay, Research Paper
I. Description Self-portrait: Chuck Close, painted in 1967-1968, media: acrylic on canvas. 6 x8 Seen at the Walker Arts Center. This enormous canvas is a close-up of the artist himself, Chuck Close. With head position slightly looking up, this facial painting fills the canvas, with extreme detail. You can see all facial features as you would see Chuck Close in real life. The hair, for-head, eyes, bone-mass, nose, lips, chin, and facial hair are seen in amazing detail. Furthermore, he includes his vintage eyeglasses and a burning cigarette in his mouth, keeping all elements in perfect proportion. The face takes up the whole canvas. The brush strokes are refined and detailed along with natural skin tones as color. Shading and highlights give the effect that you re looking at a photograph. The paint is applied very slowly in small areas, using very thin lines. I had to almost put my nose to the canvas to see any evidence of paint.II. Analysis Detail of brushstrokes and color value create a sense of reality in this piece. The meticulous uses of brushstrokes are consistent in Chuck Close s self-portrait. The work is extremely representational; at first glance you see an enlarged photograph. The proportion of the facial features is perfect. Not a wrinkle or hair was left out. Just seeing the face on such a large canvas, with all the detail, calls for small repeated brushstrokes and shading. The colors, contouring every bone and muscle, are smooth and gradual. The skin is amazingly realistic and looks shaggy. What catches my attention most are the reflections used in the work. On such things as the glasses and eyes, you can see the fluorescent lighting in the studio. These values are repeated to give dimension and real-ness. Furthermore, the lines of the facial hair can be seen almost coming from the skins pours. Definitely, repetition of detail gives this piece its final result.
III. Interpretation I see honesty and reality in this work of art. Not through the artists expression or imagination, but through detail. Nothing is left out; everything is open for us to see. I feel a sense of modesty as well. The artist has portrayed such detail that most of us would hate for everyone to see. But Chuck Close is laying it on the table for us, beautiful or not. I see an honest self-image seen through: shaggy, unshaved face, messy hair, dirty skin, the nascence of his glasses, and even a burning cigarette held between his lips. But in this are beauty, and the normality of life that we all share. Why try to hide what is there? Obviously, Chuck Close doesn t care for such meaningless worries.