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THE INFORMATION on `Chuck Close'

What Is It?

First British retrospective for one of America's most famous and influential artists who specialises in very large heads (some are 9ft-high) through paintings, photographs and digital images. "I think I've aspired to be the Morandi of heads," he says. Over the last 30 years, Close, now 59, has used various techniques to capture the faces of friends and family in microscopic detail, moving from the grey precision of his early work towards a more colourful and exuberant style. Despite an illness in the mid-1980s which left him confined to a wheelchair, Close has continued to work using a brush strapped to his hand.

What They Say About It

"These paintings have a wonderful tactile quality that has to be relished in the flesh. The flavour and thickness of painting that has the apparent texture of embroidery or patchwork or tapestry is not really available in reproduction," Richard Gott, The Independent on Sunday.

"However shattered his paintings have become in recent years, they never destroy the fundamental composure of the faces under inspection... Watchful and meditative, they stare out through the shimmer of glass-bead segments with their essential humanity undamaged," Richard Cork, The Times.

Where You Can See It

Chuck Close is at the Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (0171-960 5226) to 19 Sept and White Cube, London SW1 (0171-930 5373) to 4 Sept.