From Rhiannon Arts:

…art is not the truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand,”
from “Picasso Speaks” THE ARTS (New York) May, 1923.

Michael Close As early as the 1970�s, in his abstract paintings set in triangular supports, Michael Close has sought the synthesis of both the intellect and the sensual in an attempt to arrive at some universal truth. The work with triangles led him to focus on images of the human face to which we all respond, more or less intensely; some eliciting emotional sensations, others appealing directly to our intellect. Both share an essential rank as we have as much need of one as the other.

Set in flat, non-existent space, these simplified forms whose contours are bold and energized and animated calligraphically by line and colour, fuse into one another in a fiction of shifting points of view.

From the innocent eyes of infancy to the surfeited ones of age is a journey in which we ceaselessly read and interpret faces. The ambiguities achieved in Michael Close�s visions are mirrored in our own experiences of immediate emotions to real people whose aspects then blur, coalesce then disappear to vibrate in the memory of forms and colours.

It is the artist�s intention in these works to combine a variety of elements and experiences to serve the conveyance of truth and beauty to his viewers in the spirit of the freedom in which they were created.

Michael Close was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and received his education at the University of Guelph, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute and Ontario College of Art.

He was exhibiting his art and winning numerous awards even before finishing high school.

From his first one-man show in 1977 at Gallery 76 (Toronto) operated by Ontario College of Art, to his most recent one in Biuro Wystaw Actystysznych “Art Stilon” Museum (Poland 1993), the artist has exhibited in numerous solo shows as well as group shows from 1973 to 1993.

He has also worked extensively in Scientific Art and Design for many notable films and TV shows such as Three Men and a Baby, Anne of Green Gables, Police Academy 3, and Alfred Hitchcock (TV series), just to mention a few. His work has been reviewed by many newspapers, TV and radio stations from around the world.

Cosimo Stifani, Art Critic has this to say about Michael Close:

“What is the most important thing to you and I? PEOPLE.” Such laconic sentence could only be proffered by a person whose intent and constant endeavor in life has been to bring to light a glimpse of that nature shared by all human beings. This person is Michael Close, an active artist residing in Toronto where he works and lives with his wife Menka and daughters Alexandra and Melanie.

Close�s artwork, which may appear simple and direct, is the culmination of a style that began with Abstract Expressionism in the early seventies and then eventually developed into its truly distinctive form: pictographic representational figure in a triangular setting. After the euphoric years spent at the University of Guelph and the Ontario College of Art, the artist began to depart from the objectless feelings of Abstract Expressionism and move into the world of history: from the abstract to the representational. But in the process of objectifying the historicity of humankind he had (a) to translate into images the literary sources assimilated by the cultural baggage of the individual, and (b) to attempt to make accessible to the viewer a glimpse of the image�s universality.

It appears that Close is reverting somewhat to Panovsky dictum that “in a work of art, �form� cannot be divorced from �content� “. But content of what? “Well, if my work aims to explore the universality of truth present in each and every one of us, ” replies Close, “then my objective as an artist is to capture the expression of the particular that converges to the form of the universal.” In other words, through his triangular faces the artist attempts to capture the historicity of the moment and eventually leading to the visualization of the universal. Thus, the artist becomes the homo faber, the maker, the one that makes us see the phenomenon.

Perhaps E.G. Gombrich was partly right in asserting that there is no such thing as ART but only artists. Leonardo Da Vinci, who strongly believed that man could reveal some Godly traits, went on to demonstrate this Renaissance conceptualization by proving that the human�s perfect image is achieved when the arms� aperture is equal to the body�s height. By having the image of the human being at the centre of the squared circle Leonardo demonstrated that the descent of the universal to the particular was complete, and Ficino�s Platonism was finally immortalized by the intellect of the visual arts. Close, on the other hand, is strongly convinced that the obsessed individualism of our age is invisibly connected to the historicity of time. Whatever, or whoever may be out there, certainly did not play the dice; and the artist, like the maker, sculpts with Godly strokes the happiness and tribulations that weave the tapestry of our age of uncertainty. Such is the art of Michael Close: precise, concise, indelible.

His works are in the permanent collection of:

  • National Art Gallery and Cultural Centre, Honiara, Soloman Islands
  • Bitola Museum, Bitola, Macedonia; Prilep Museum, Prilep, Macedonia
  • Ohrid Museum, Ohrid Macedonia; Skopje City Museum, Skopje, Macedonia
  • Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych “Art Stilon”, Museum, Poland
  • National Gallery, Macedonia

Michael Close had more than fifteen solo shows in museums around the world.

Here are two of his paintings:

Works by Michael Close donated by Michael and Menka Close

The works in this donation reveal the artist’s interest in design and pattern. Based on a decorative approach to the subject of the face, calligraphic lines of bright colour and blocks of paint have been used to create a bold and individualistic series of paintings.
Untitled [Small Face #3], 2004 - Michael Close
Click to see a larger image (172K)
Untitled [Small Face #3], 2004
Michael Close
Acrylic on canvas
Government of Ontario Art Collection, 100326
Untitled [Face Series 1], 2004 - Michael Close
Click to see a larger image (119K)
Untitled [Face Series 1], 2004
Michael Close
Ink on paper
Government of Ontario Art Collection, 100320
Originally from Toronto, Michael Close now lives with his young family in Oshawa, Ontario.
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