Announcing: Chuck Close “A Couple of Ways of Doing Something”

The Joseloff Gallery, Hartford Art School is proud to announce the opening of “A Couple of Ways of Doing Something” a traveling exhibition from Aperture Foundation featuring photography by Chuck Close and poems by Bob Holman. The exhibition will run through June 27, 2010 and will open with a public reception on Wednesday, April 14, from 6-8pm in the Joseloff Gallery.

“A Couple of Ways of Doing Something” evolved from the extraordinary daguerreotype portraits created by Chuck Close.  Throughout a career of more than four decades, Chuck Close has consistently sought to test the limits of the media in which he has chosen to work, from painting and Polaroid photography to holograms and Japanese woodblock prints. “I have always been fascinated by how one way of doing something can kick open a door to another way,” he has remarked. “For me, the original image serves as a matrix, from which I can explore issues of scale, information, and perception.”

In the 1960s, Close was one of the earliest artists to use photography as the foundation of his painting and one of the most influential. He developed a gridded painting system based at first on gelatin-silver prints and dye transfers, then on 20-by-24-inch Polaroid images, which enabled him to scale up his portraits to colossal size. The innovation overthrew traditional expressive hierarchies of portrait painting and substituted an “all over” delivery of information. Since the late 1990s, Close has expanded his interests to include daguerreotypes, an early form of photography, and these, in turn, have been the basis for a series of digital pigment prints, tapestries, and photogravures. Examples of all four of these interests are displayed in this exhibition. It represents an additional departure for Close because many of the daguerreotypes were produced in tandem with praise poems written by Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Club. Together, they form composite portraits of their subjects and are the inspiration for the title of the exhibition and related publications.

To achieve the effects he desires, Close works directly with master craftsmen, artists, printers, and technicians, collaborating on the development of techniques that often expand the capabilities of the particular medium. His interest in artistic methods that are sometimes centuries-old is never merely antiquarian or arcane. And although his experiments in each process are dependent on precise control of the output, Close is in constant pursuit of surprise and the unexpected. Close regularly exhibits work in different media together so that viewers can experience the radical differences inherent among them and the various ways of seeing they engender. “People think that if you have a photographic image, there is pretty much only one thing you can do with it, that because of its iconography, it is fixed,” he has remarked. “But changing the medium, the method of mark-making, and the scale transforms the experience of that image into something new.”

Aperture, a not-for-profit organization devoted to photography and the visual arts, has organized this traveling exhibition and produced the accompanying publications.

A gorgeous hardbound exhibition catalog will be available for purchase at the gallery, and will be on sale the night of the opening for $35 (a $15 discount off the cover price of $50), wile supplies last.

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