New York

Al Held

André Emmerich

Viewed together, Al Held’s watercolors constitute an amazing tour de force, both by virtue of his use of the medium and their geometric pyrotechnics. In these works, Held uses simple geometrical forms, three-dimensionally rendered and brightly colored, to more irrational effect than ever. He tumbles and crowds the elements until the dense configurations that result all but block out the space horror vacui carried to a disorderly extreme. And yet, despite the generally claustrophobic effect of these works, the luminosity of the forms creates a certain openness the forms look lighter than their bulk suggests they are. Lyrical by nature, watercolor is typically used to render transient, capricious sensations, and in this respect Held’s use of the medium to present sturdy geometrical forms is daring. To the point of his intention, the medium’s “lightness” helps keep the forms free-floating.

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