New York

Al Held

Emmerich Gallery, Uptown

Al Held’s new paintings at the Emmerich Galleries are in the gargantuan geometric mode he has been exploring for several years. Held seems to be bringing an unnecessarily heavy arsenal of effects to bear upon what is apparently the task of reintroducing space into painting. Each picture—most are black on white—is filled with precisely drawn geometric figures, cubes, slabs, rings, wedges, and such. Some of the figures are drawn so as to appear transparent, like classic optical illusions; others read as opaque; and some read as both opaque and transparent, at differing parts of the picture. Most of the figures fall completely within the frame, but some in each painting are cropped. Figure/ground relationships are deliberately confused by the introduction of ambiguities into the overlap of figures. And to increase the tension of such ambiguities, Held has taken to defining the most

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