Chuck Close’s Fanny/Fingerpainting is a portrait of the artists grandmother-in-law and if you take a quick glance at it you’d be forgiven for thinking its a photograph or at least a typical hyper realistic Chuck Close painting. However on closer inspection you’d soon realise that the picture is actually made up of thousands of fingerprints.
To achieve the effect Close used to change the amount of pigment on his finger as well as adjust the pressure of his finger on the canvas – it was this technical prowess that led the artist to create the incredible contours of the face.
The National Smithsonian Gallery Of Art has this to say about the painting:
Fanny/Fingerpainting represents one of the largest and most masterly executions of a technique Chuck Close developed in the mid-l980s. That technique involved the direct application of pigment to a surface with the artist’s fingertips. By adjusting the amount of pigment and the pressure of his finger on the canvas, Close could achieve a wide range of tonal effects. Typically, he worked from a black and white photograph which he would divide into many smaller units by means of a grid. He then transposed the grid onto a much larger canvas and meticulously reproduced each section of it. The result is a monumental, close-up view that forces an uncomfortable intimacy upon the viewer.