Cleveland, Ohio - The Contessa Gallery at Legacy Village announces the upcoming exhibition of works by the world-renowned American painter, printmaker, and photographer Chuck Close, who has achieved fame as a photorealist, through his monumental, psychologically charged portraits. The exhibition will feature limited edition prints (including woodcuts, screenprints, colored, pressed, handmade paper pulp, linocuts, etchings and aquatints), photography (including unique Polaroid prints, daguerreotypes, digital pigment prints, and working maquettes with grid lines), and large-scale Jacquard tapestries.
The exhibition is mounted in conjunction with Akron Art Museum’s “Familiar Faces: Chuck Close in Ohio Collections”. Do not miss the Public Symposium “Up Close and Personal with Chuck Close’s Friends” organized to celebrate the two exhibitions on October 11, 2009.
Photorealism as an art movement developed in the United States in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Within this movement Chuck Close’s intimate, deceptively straightforward self-portraits and portraits of his friends and family have become an indelible part of American art. His paintings, photographs, and prints mark an intersection between representation and abstraction that is simultaneously of the moment and timeless.
Chuck Close (B. 1940) received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle and afterwards attended graduate school at Yale University. He briefly lived in Europe on a Fulbright grant before returning to the United States to teach art at the University of Massachusetts. It was at this time that he started working from photographs.
Since then, Chuck Close has participated in countless group exhibitions of international significance as well as more than one hundred and forty solo exhibitions around the world. He has been honored by many cultural institutions and has received multiple awards, including: a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1973); The International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1990); the Academy Institute Award in Art from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York (1991); the New York State Governor’s Award (1997); the National Medal of Arts (2000); and gold medals from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (2004), the American Academy in Rome (2004), and the National Arts Club (2005).
Retrospectives of his works have been mounted by such public institutions as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Last year, Chuck Close: Seven Portraits was on view at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the museum’s Hermitage 20/21 project. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Raina Sofia, Madrid recently organized the first retrospective of works by Close in Spain.
In 2009, Chuck Close will be the focus of the upcoming exhibition at the Akron Art Museum in Ohio, which will be titled “Familiar Faces: Chuck Close in Ohio Collections” and will feature 36 works (on view September 5, 2009 – January 3, 2010). Concurrent with the show at the Akron Art Museum, the Contessa Gallery will feature a diverse and comprehensive display of Chuck Closes recent works, including unique works, limited edition prints, photography and large-scale Jacquard tapestries.
Recognized as one of the preeminent artists of the Post-war era, Close has embraced a variety of media throughout his career in order to explore art making at its most fundamental levels. Commonly choosing friends, family, and himself as subjects, Close’s portraits also include cultural and political figures. Portraiture was given up-to-the-moment relevance by Close’s monumental, painted heads. His meticulously crafted portraits were always regarded as being on the cutting- edge of contemporary art, which was focused on concepts, systems and process rather than representation and the skill of the artist’s hand.
Close’s paintings are labor-intense and time-consuming, and his prints are more so. “Virtually everything that has happened in my unique work,” he declares, “can be traced back to the prints.” While a painting can occupy Close for many months, it is not unusual for one print to take more than two years to complete, from conception to final edition. He also has described himself as “an artist looking for trouble” because pushing the limits of various techniques gets him in trouble and extricating himself from a technical corner becomes an essential catalyst to his creativity. Prints often provide the arena in which he can work out solutions to the aesthetic problems his restless imagination poses. Few artists have experimented with as many different media: oil, acrylic, inks and graphite on canvas, handmade paper with shaded paper pulp, spitbite and aquatint with softground etching, digital pigment printing, linocuts, screenprinting, ukiyo-e tradition woodcut, Polaroid photography, traditional color photography, and even rubber stamp and tapestry.
Self-portraits take a central place in Close’s works. Over many years, he has been taking photographs of his own face every year and translating them into large paintings. This reflects changes in hairstyle, beard, and eyeglass frames, as well as aging, worldview, and attitude toward life. It is fair to say that Chuck Close will leave a legacy to the world of the greatest visual autobiography since Rembrandt.
The opening receptions will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12, 2009 from 6 pm – 9 pm and will feature guest speaker Dr. Barbara Tannenbaum, the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Akron Art Museum on Friday, September 11 at 7:30 pm. She will give a lecture on the influence of Chuck Close’s works on contemporary art.
In conjunction with the exhibitions, the Contessa Gallery together with the Akron Art Museum’s George and Ethel Nobil Fund has sponsored the Public Symposium “Up Close and Personal with Chuck Close’s Friends”. The symposium will be attended by Linda Rosenkrantz, Mark Greenwold and Christopher Finch and will be held at Akron- Summit County Public Library Auditorium on October 11, 2009 at 2 pm.
Known as the subject of the Akron Art Museum’s massive, incredibly detailed, nine-foot painting Linda by Chuck Close, Linda Rosenkrantz and her husband Christopher Finch and fellow Close subject Mark Greenwold will bring their unique perspective of Close’s work to Akron and North East Ohio. Finch is an artist and author who has written about Norman Rockwell, Jim Henson, Walt Disney and recently authored “Chuck Close: Work”. Greenwold is also an accomplished artist and personal friend of Close.
For additional information regarding the exhibition at the Contessa Gallery, the opening receptions or the Public Symposium, please contact Steve Hartman at 216.382.7800.