Harwood Museum

of the University of New Mexico

Taos, NM


Harwood Facade, photo by John Rudiak, 1998


Chuck Close at The Harwood Museum


An exhibition of works by Chuck Close featuring a 1998 painting of Agnes Martin will be shown at the Harwood Museum in Taos, opening May 7, 2000 through July 9, 2000, with a reception on Sunday, May 7 from 3-5pm, This exhibition, the first in New Mexico to feature Close, scans 15 years of one of America's most important painters. Known for his unique paintings of colleagues and friends, Close has transcended the genre of portraiture by creating bold images that vacillate between representational and abstract. The pivotal piece in the exhibition is a large canvas of Taos resident and internationally acclaimed Minimalist artist Agnes Martin, on loan from a private collection. Also included will be works on paper including drawings, etchings, linoleum block prints, a color woodcut, and finger print portraits.

Close, a graduate of Yale School of the Arts, moved to New York City in 1967. In 1970, he had his first one person show from which the Whitney Museum of American-Art purchased a large black and white painting of Phillip Glass. Since that time, Chuck Close's work has been added to the collections of major museums throughout the world. His unique paintings take up to four months to complete. Close's paintings begin with a large Polaroid photograph which he then transfers to the canvas or paper by means of a grid. Each square is then reproduced, creating a complete portrait made up from hundreds of individual 'tiles.' (left: Agnes, 1998, oil on canvas, 102 x 84 inches, Private collection)

Over the past three decades, Close has experimented with various mediums and methods, from his early black and white airbrushed works, to using an ink pad and his fingerprints, to paper pulp, as well as, more traditional methods of drawing and various print techniques. Today, Close's work is more colorful, each grid has become its own microcosm of color and organic shape. As with all of his work, the paintings take shape on two levels, when viewed up close they appear as abstract shapes and colors, yet when viewed from a distance the individual pieces magically come together into an uncanny likeness of the subject.

Also on view: "Multiple Impressions - Native American Artists and The Print," organized by The University of New Mexico Art Museum, featuring lithographs created by Native American artists at the Tamarind Institute between 1970 and 1999. Opening reception April 2, 2000, on view through June 11, 2000.

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