About This Artwork
Chuck Close is known as much for his detailed representation of the human face as for his subsequent deconstruction of it. Close uses head-on portraits as his templates, exploring portraiture and his subjects through a variety of drawing and painterly techniques, as well as through printmaking, tapestry, and photography. John, one of Close’s earliest paintings, is described as photorealist. Indeed, Close refers to photographs to create his artworks, employing their inconsistencies of perspective as much as their verisimilitude. Here, the sharp detail of the rim of the subject’s glasses contrasts with the blurred, soft focus of his shoulders and the back of his hair, as it likely did in the original photograph. But instead of using mechanical means to transfer his images onto canvas, Close works entirely from sight to achieve the intensely animate detail, sectioning off the reference photographs into grids and transferring each piece by hand onto his monumentally sized canvases.