Chuck Close

Chuck Close
Maggie, 1996, Oil on canvas, 30 x 24"
(76.2 x 61 cm), Photograph by Ellen Page Wilson, courtesy of PaceWildenstein, New York, © Chuck Close

December 9, 2000 - March 25, 2001

"Artists...see both the device that
makes the illusion and the illusion
itself. I'm as interested in the
distribution of marks on a flat
surface...as I am with the thing
that ultimately gets depicted...
[It's] shifting from one to the
other that really interests me."

Chuck Close

In a unique visual exchange between the ancient and contemporary worlds, the Museum presents works by Chuck Close to coincide with its exhibition of Roman mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch. Inspired by Close's keen interest in ancient floor mosaics, this exhibition is the first to explore the relation between his work and mosaics of the past. On view in the Contemporary Gallery, the exhibition includes a selection of Close's recent paintings, as well as paper-pulp pieces and a silk rug. Close has been a leading figure in contemporary art for over 30 years, working with a single subject - the human figure. Close's monumental "heads" include intensely personal images of friends, family, and fellow artists, as well as self-portraits. Each painting, which is built of carefully constructed grids, is both a highly abstract and systematic composition of individual units or marks and a finely rendered likeness of his subject. In both Close's works and the Antioch mosaics, there is a complex dialogue between a highly ordered system and extraordinary artistic improvisation. Terms like "realism" and "representation" become relative and in each case, whether painting or mosaic, we discover that the medium creates its own distinct reality.

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