CHARLESTON — An exhibition of photographs by internationally known artist Chuck Close is on view through Dec. 20 at the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University.
"A Couple of Ways of Doing Something" features photographic portraits by Close that were executed in various media: daguerreotypes, tapestries, pigment prints and photogravures.
"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," Close has said. "But changing the medium, the method of mark-making and the scale transforms the experience of that image into something new."
The exhibition at Tarble is the last stop in the "A Couple of Ways of Doing Something" tour that began in 2006; Tarble is the only Illinois venue to have the exhibition.
It was organized by and is on loan from Aperture Foundation in New York. The Tarble presentation is made possible by the Major Art and Artists Exhibitions Endowment, a new fund in the EIU Foundation that enables Tarble to present exhibitions of art from major artists and movements. The new endowment is a result of a major gift from the Tarble Family Foundation.
Close, 73, is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame a few decades ago as a photorealist via his massive portraits. In 1988, he was left paralyzed by a spinal artery collapse, but he continues to paint and produce work.
The exhibition at Tarble features photographs of many of the same artist-friends who have made regular appearances in Close's paintings over the years. Among them are Laurie Anderson, Cecily Brown, Philip Glass, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith and James Turrell, plus Close himself.
Some of the photographs are paired with lyrical praise poems by writer Bob Holman, a New York School poet who originated and hosted the famous Poetry Slams at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
Close worked with daguerreotype master Jerry Spagnoli on the daguerreotypes in the exhibition. Close's wall-size tapestry portraits were produced in collaboration with Donald Farnsworth of Magnolia Editions in California.
The tapestries are composed of thousands of combinations of woven colored thread, translated from black-and-white daguerreotypes. No printing was involved in their creation.
Close's works are in the collections of many of the world's greatest museums. He received a National Medal of Arts and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
President Barack Obama recently appointed him to serve on The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
The Tarble Arts Center is at 2010 Ninth St., Charleston. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, It's closed Mondays and holidays.