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Lesson Plans

Re: Big and Close

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
R. Moore (ronmoore)
Fri, 5 Feb 1999 14:52:11 -0800 (PST)

Betty Bowen is quite right to mention Chuck Close's remarkable
photorealistic work as instructive on the "size matters" issue. Many of
Close's early works are huge, huge, huge. And it's very important that
they be so large-scale, because they are all about seeing. If they were
the size of the photos from which they were crafted, they would be
indistinguisable from them. But, on the gigantic scale Close used, they
make us think about how we focus, comprehend, dechyper the things we see.
And we also are dazzled by the sheer force of will and amount of labor
that went into making these works in the scale chosen. Close is a
wonderful artist to introduce to classes, in part because he is a very
thoughtful (and nice) guy, who discusses his work and life very openly and
accessibly. He didn't do very well in school (dyslexia problems, as I
recall), but kept working on his great love--drawing and then painting.
And, only after long, patient labor did he reach the point where he had
found his own style and his own project. Then, as you may know, at the
height of his success, he was struck with a debilitating stroke and lost
most of the use of his limbs. He now works in a wheelchair with his
brushes strapped to his wrist. And he has developed a modified technique
that is wonderfully successful. His most recent works are as much admired
as his earlier ones. I think Close's personal odyssey can serve as a
powerful inspiration to lots of kids who face challenges in their lives.