Chuck Close is widely known for his painterly process of using abstraction to a realistic end. Gridding both a source photograph and a canvas, Close paints brightly-colored concentric rings that up close look like simple color fields, but from afar turn out to be very detailed portraits.
In this intricately detailed picture, the artist displays his technical mastery of the camera, capturing the sunflower in a finely balanced play of light. This is a flower as seen by a bee, with its center deep, inviting and overwhelming. This presumably innocent subject, a sunflower, has a disheveled luxuriance and a thrill of sex, which make it very unlike the traditional imagery of still life subjects. In Close´s flowers pictures, the erotic energy is myopic as the imagery seems to have emerged from the sense of touch more than from vision.
“I approach all subjects the same. Of course I can’t collaborate with a flower the same way I can with a human, but there is an inherent sensuality in a flower that relates to the nudes, and the close-up details of the flowers are equally revelatory.„