What is the purpose of Chuck Close's grid in his work?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The use of the grid methodology in Close's work was quite deliberate.  In replicating the chosen sample through the grid method, Close was able to create multiple examples of a "picture within a picture."  Each grid contained its own definition of color and when fit together, comprised a whole that made it difficult to distinguish part from whole.  I think that the purpose here was twofold.  The first was that Close wanted to forge the link between art and representation through pictures.  In doing so, one is challenged by the notion of pictures versus art and Close's grid method is able to make this happen.  From a symbolic point of view, there is something quite profound about smaller pieces, insignificant by themselves, contributing to a larger fabric or vision which is impossible without their composition.  I think that the Grid method is one way in which Close was fairly radical for an artist.  The grid method is something that art classes now use quite often in order to teach students about the notion of composition and breaking down artistic barriers, even at the youngest of stages.  This is something that Close was fairly effective at through his use of the grid method.