Chuck Close (American b. 1940), Self-Portrait, 2004-2005. 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, 20 x 25 in.
We are innately drawn to the human face; that must explain why Chuck Close's many portraits are irrestible. Working from a photograph of his subject, Close puts a grid on the photo and on the canvas and then carefully applies color, cell by cell. Over the years, the grid has evolved from a near-invisible aid for transferring the image to a bold compositional element. Abstract up close, his portraits are dazzling mosaics of iridescent color that we are hard-wired to discern as a nose, a mouth, eyes, and other features.
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