The exhibition also features an installation of 25 works known as the “Scribble Etching” series that Close created to demystify the printmaking process and show how layers of color flesh out his portraits on paper. Plus, the show includes an entire wall devoted to explaining the numerous techniques he has used — from spitbites to Woodbury types — along with a time-lapse video of the creation of a paper pulp collage.
“There's complexity, there's mystery behind printmaking, because it might be an artistic medium that people haven't participated in … and it's just quite different than picking up paint and a paintbrush,” Klos said.
A giant cube puzzle offers visitors a hands-on opportunity to closely examine several of Close's works, including two of his self-portraits.
In addition, two drawing stations give people a chance to try out the University of Washington graduate's grid method. To create one of his portraits, Close draws a grid over an enlarged photograph, then transfers a pencil version of the grid to canvas or paper. At one drawing station, visitors can sketch a friend by peering through a gridded window; at the other, they can use a gridded mirror to work on a self-portrait. They then can take their grid drawings — and the concept behind them — home.
“You could even take a selfie — one of the most dominant aspects of social media — and (that's) what Chuck Close is doing, he's always been making selfies. He's been portraying himself as a self-portrait throughout much of his career,” Klos said with a smile.
“We hope that our visitors will then really sort of take that as an inspiration, even in using the grid in their own work.”