ART 100 Cuyamaca College Chuck Close Art Reflection Paper



Contemporary artist Chuck Close is one of the most interesting and influential painters working today. Early on, Close was strongly influenced by the Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He even painted in an abstract style. Later, Close rejected Abstract Expressionism and, in an approach that might be considered photo-realist, painted a series of portraits that were monumental in size. Later yet, after a life-changing personal tragedy, Close again changed his approach to painting. Although he continued to paint portraits, he radically changed his painting process.

Your Assignment

In this writing assignment, you will submit a 600-750 word “tiny” paper, in which you describe and analyze the painting process of contemporary painter Chuck Close and how he creates images that are optically engaging for the viewer. This format requires you to condense your ideas and focus only on those that are directly relevant to the topic.


Step One: Watch this Video

Please watch this video (up to 42:30) about the work of contemporary painter Chuck Close. Take notes you watch the video, then answer the questions below, as this will help you prepare your reflection.

Step Two: Write your Reflection

In 600-750 words, explain Close’s approach to painting, and how his process makes his paintings more engaging for the viewer. Be sure to include direct references to specific areas of Close’s paintings as you write your Reflection.

Address the following issues and support your ideas with careful observations of the images:

  1. When Chuck Close states that his painting ‚Äútranscends its physical reality,” he means that the whole painting is greater than the sum of its parts. Describe the experience of seeing one of Close’s paintings up close versus seeing it from a distance.
  2. Although Chuck Close paints portraits based on photographs, the finished paintings do not merely look like large photographs. Briefly describe Chuck Close’s process of painting an image, and how the surfaces of his painting differ from that of a photograph.
  3. People today generally don’t have optical experiences because most of their visual experiences passively occur while watching commercial media. Explain how Close’s process of painting results in images that provide more engaging optical experiences for the viewer.

Please use 12 point Times New Roman, single-spaced, and be concise.


This reflection topic is broadly framed and there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, you will be graded on how well you demonstrate your ability to think clearly about this topic and to logically support your ideas with concepts from the reading, video, and class discussion.

Before you submit your reflection, take a little more time to proofread your work to make sure that what you write actually conveys what you intend to say. Your answers must be clearly-written, well-supported, grammatically correct, and free of spelling and punctuation errors. This is a college level assignment!

Please review the Grading Rubric before you begin.

Earn a High Grade

  1. Before you begin, read all of the instructions, as well as the rubric.
  2. Organize what you plan to say before you write.
  3. Focus on the key ideas contained in the reading and videos.
  4. Write concise and complete sentences that clearly convey what you intend to say.
  5. Write in present tense. This will help to simplify and clarify your sentence structure.
  6. As much as possible, do not refer to yourself or frequently say “I”.
  7. Support your statements with careful observations about the art.
  8. Include your own insights that support your key points.
  9. Have someone else read your work before you submit it.

Prof. Angela


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