For the last half decade, Chuck Close (born 1940) has examined portraiture through painting, photography, and printmaking, focusing mainly on self-portraits or portraits of friends and fellow artists, including Richard Serra, James Turrell and Cecily Brown. Close gained recognition early in his career for his large-scale photorealist paintings and drawings rendered in black and white that he reproduced from gridded photographs. In the 1970s Close began incorporating color into his work, utilizing a new technique wherein he constructed an image using a grid of individual colored squares. Up close, each square appears to be its own abstract painting, but when viewed from afar, they form a highly realistic portrait. Close suffers from prosopagnosia, or face blindness, and has said that painting portraits allows him to better recognize and remember faces.
Over the last 50 years, Close has produced one of the largest, most ambitious and experimental bodies of contemporary prints and his work can be found in major institutions throughout the world. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at numerous institutions including Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Art Institute of Chicago; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Hayward Gallery, London among others. Close is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Skowhegan Arts Medal.
Chuck Close began making prints at Two Palms in 1999. His Woodburytypes, printed at Two Palms in 2012 and 2013, are some of the first printed since the 1800s. His 2013 portrait of Barack Obama is the first Woodburytype of an American President since Hessler & Ayer’s Woodburytype portrait of Abraham Lincoln, printed in 1881.