Certainly, "the event" played a large role in the changing of Chuck Close's work over time. The effects of that night in December had to have changed so much in his life. His entire approach to art and its creation were massively changed. The spinal artery collapse left him dependent on a wheelchair and having lost control of his muscles. For someone whose work was so elaborate and precise in terms of technique, such a muscular impact would have profound resonance on his work. His rehabilitation as well as his own commitment to overcome the physical challenges of his condition filtered into his work. Close was able to depend on an assistant to help him, something that was different than his independent approach to work before. Additionally, he created a harness that could hold a brush on his wrist, being unable to grip it in his hands as before. Close was able to develop a different approach to the grid format of his work, and nurture it in a different manner. Whereas before restrictions were placed on how he would come to define his work, he started to expand those boundaries after "the event." The results were that Close's work began to show maturation and development, something that is seen in both his work and the thematic approach he took to it.
I've watched an hour long documentary in my Art History class this semester about Chuck Close. Before the spinal injury, Chuck Close was a remarkable painter, being able to paint grandiose photo-realistic paintings of people depicting different facial expressions. Fast forward a bit with the spinal injury, Chuck Close has to deal with his lack of muscle control. However, that didn't stop him from painting on large canvases. He has to have a team of assistants to draw out his pictures for him on a grid and transfer them onto the canvas and then with his paintbrush, begins a meticulous journey using his own color theory, to paint realistic portraits of himself. Although, it seems that he has been restricted from doing photo-realism, his work with grids, have helped him to learn more about colors and develop his own unique form of technique to deal with his muscle loss.