Is it possible to have Good Imaging close to wall

I keep looking for the best speakers to stand flush against the front wall and end up looking at the usual suspects: North Creek Kitty Kat Revelators, Allisons (now old), Von Schweikert VR-35, NHT Classic 4s, Audio Note AN/K, and other sealed or front ported speakers. But I have never understood how, even though the bass is controlled, they can defy the law of physics and image as well as, say, my great actually owned other speakers, Joseph Audio Pulsars, far out in the room? Is it physically possible for these flush mounted speakers to image as well?

All of what you say rings true to me, as usual.

A large 3-D soundstage created by properly managed reflected sound is like a large format well done 3-D movie. Our eyes can resolve things more completely and accurately in 3-D compared to a projection of 3-D into 2-D. Aslo, in the case of sound, there is always a time component as well that must be addressed properly during playback. Reflected sound and the timing delays associated enable that.

Bose helped give reflected sound a bad name with audiophiles, not so much because the concept was wrong,but that the implementation apparently did not float many audiophile boats.

OHM with their omni designs is the company that has been around a long time like Bose that has traversed those seas most aggressively for the longest period of time, I suspect. Magnepan as well with their planar dipole approach. TWo different designs, two different dispersion patterns, two speakers that will likely seldom ever both sound best in teh same location, due to differences in how direct and reflected sound occurs. Toss mbl, a true omni design, in the same boat, I've owned both for many years and found each satisfying in their own way when set up right. Each has different requirements for best performance in a room and details of placement relative to walls is a key difference. Standard box designs have some inherent limitations, but designers, like Duke, have found many unique ways to address those effectively as well.

I have extensive technical background and experience in digital map imaging for military applications (hence my moniker). I draw largely on that to help me understand what I hear as well.
First - Nvp and Mapman - sorry for using the critique word, possibly leading to a misunderstanding. We share the basic ideals and I agree with most of what you write. Indeed I want to hear the recording venue, not my room. My point is just, we can't avoid the room (at least not, with more volume, bigger speakers etc), so we must make it play along. The Audiokinesis Dream Maker speakers I got last year do it better than others I've owned (Dynaudio Consequence, Abrahamsen Fs401, Aurum Cantus, Proac clones, even Bose 901 in the 1970s) in my fairly large 20 x 27 feet room. But it is not exactly up against the wall. The best close-to-the wall imaging I have achieved, is with smaller bookshelf or desktop speakers, sounding best if "clamped" (from above + below) but I have given up on that in my main rig. Speakers have to stand 4-5 feet from the wall, or more, to sound their best. For a while, I used the Aurum Cantus L2SE - great nearfield listening (esp for the money), although not a serious contender in the main rig, but even these small speakers sounded best 5 feet or so from the wall (now, a good fit for my Ming Da integrated amp at the cottage). The Dream Makers perform the trick of creating, both, the room energy and the "big" music making - *and* intimate images, but they are best almost six feet from the wall, so this is somewhat OT.
Mapman and Audiokinesis, thank you for the stimulating discussion.

I’ll start by citing Audiokinesis:

Reflections done right are beneficial from the
standpoint of envelopment and spaciousness and a sense of immersion,
timbre, clarity, and liveliness. They can preserve the three-dimensionality of
the recording, something that reflections done wrong will degrade.

Obviously, there are two extreme possibility: “Reflections done right” and
“reflections done wrong”.

Mapman talks about the benefits associated with the first one, i.e. “Reflections
done right”, while I warn people to be cautious as “reflections done wrong”
can be very detrimental. There is a reason why MBL speakers only on
occasions sound breathtaking while very often they are unable to image
properly or sound good. If MBL representatives (who are supposed to be
experts in setting up MBL speakers) often can’t do it, then one can not expect
the average audiophile or sell person to do it.

Consequently, my take is that if one wants to have a good sound-stage with
realistic sizes for the instrument and voices, than his/her best bet is to
minimise the first order reflections and create a symmetric listening
environment. I did not argue that one needs to completely suppress all
reflections (which is a task impossible to achieve in one’s room anyway). What
I argue is that beside altering the spectral balance, too many reflections are
also likely to give an unrealistic sound-stage, e.g. singer/voices having
unnatural sizes (30 inch or more). As such I feel it is better to minimise
reflections rather than to maximise them. There is a reason why recordings
are mixed in near-filed.

In the end it is a matter of preference (also because the “ideal"
reverberation time depends on the type of music one listens) and in this
regard me and Mapman have very different preferences. I own Avantgarde
horns (i.e. speakers that control the directivity of sound and thus minimise
reflections) whereas Mapman owns Ohm speakers (i.e. speakers which try to
maximise the reflections).

For what it is worth Mapman, I have a PhD in theoretical/computational
physics and I am doing research in university in the field of vibrational
spectroscopy for almost 15 years now.
I have never owned any speakers designed to go up against wall + maximize soundstage depth, which is what suffers the most usually when speakers are close to the wall.

OHM Walshes are designed to be able to go closer to walls than pure omnis, in order to make placement more viable for most. When set up right, soundstage depth is very good. The kinds of rooms most people are stuck with (unlike United Home Audio where I heard the benchmark mbl demo) and have to also live in are often a practical limitation and OHM is unique in its ability to create a large and reasonably deep detailed soundstage with placement closer to walls than possible with true omni, but not against.

Blue Circle had a model a few years back based on the OHM Walsh design that was designed to go flush against walls.

There are other speaker designers that tackle thepractical issues most have to deal with when locating speakers from teh perspective of soundstage and imaging. Larsen is one that was mentioned above that appears to have a good approach but I am not very familiar with. At a glance, they remind me a bit of Vandersteen which is quite well known.

BEfore teh current Walsh line, OHM offered several models using unconventional driver orientations to help reduce effects of early reflections that remind me of what Larsen appears to do. OHM often has refurbed versions of their older models with latest and greatest components installed for reasonable cost if of interest. Check out the catalog of older models on teh OHM site for more info on some of the FRS, CAM (very well received at the time with rotatable "egg" shaped tweeter mounted on top), or the OHM I, which John Strohbeen has cited as perhaps the best OHM ever in terms of pure output capabilities.
"minimise the first order reflections and create a symmetric listening environment."
I agree. But James Romeyn, co-designer of new Audiokinesis speakers, has suggested one should try a bit of offset from full symmetry, like 1.5 inch (moving the whole "axis" of the system a bit towards one of the side walls). My room is a bit asymmetrical anyway, so it may not be needed in my case. He also suggested my sub (which I have to place close to the wall) would sound best with 90 degrees phase, which turned out to be right.