Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chuck Close at the Modern Art Museum, Ft. Worth

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has installed a great exhibit of printmaking by artist Chuck Close. Friends had recommended this show, and I'm glad they did, because ordinarily it's painting shows that really get me in the door of a museum. In fact, I was going to see the Sean Scully exhibit "Wall of Light", which was very good, but the Close show was an education!

Name a printing technique, and it's probably represented here. Woodblock, mezzotint, silkscreen, aquatint, lithography, linocut, paper pulp, etching... and on and on. One gallery even has the progressive stages of a woodblock print, the original painting it's made from, and a large silk tapestry of the same painting. There is an example of a large portrait made into a silkscreen, using 128 separate colors. This means 128 separate screens are printed on the same sheet of paper to make one print. The resulting prints are shown in stages of printing the screens, 10 at a time (i.e., State I includes screen 1-10, State II screens, 11-20, etc.).

This is a real chance to get into the labor intensive process the artist and his collaborating master woodcarvers, metalworkers, and printmakers must go through to produce artwork. The results are beautiful and stunning. I'll go back, since this exhibit, organized by the Blaffer Gallery in Houston, continues through at least June. Check the museum website above for details.

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