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The piece I have chosen is an oil painting by Chuck Close entitled Robert made in 1997 I observed it at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art SFMOMA The painting which measures an enormous 102 by 84 inches is a straightforward portrait of one of Closes friends and fellow pop artists Robert Rauschenberg although its dazzling style and ingenious execution are anything but straightforward The subject matter is typical of Chuck Close a large frontal view of a persons head The technique of the piece reflects Closes later style where the painting is divided into a diagonal grid in which each square contains an assortment of painted geometric shapes ranging widely in colors many of which curiously enough are not even normally found on the human face green violet blue etc However when observed from a distance the many separate squares and the varying shapes and colors within them seem to merge together to form a complete convincing human face The individual conflicting colors disappear and oddly enough the familiar pigments and features of the human face are readily visible Like most of his portraits Chuck Close shows his subject from a close disorienting vantagepoint Robert Rauschenbergs grinning face fills up nearly the entire space of the canvas leaving only the corners open to a black background The face in Robert was not painted in the typical way most artist would paint a face that is namely by painting specific details like the shape of the head the eyes the nose mouth etc Instead the canvas was divided into thousands of squares each mere inches across Close paints a background color for each square from top to bottom ranging from deep reds and blues to light yellows and greens He then starts again at the top painting in each square an array of loose shapes like squares circles diamonds lozenges etc in the same range of vivid colors When the long process
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