Al Held

Al Held (October 12, 1928 – July 27, 2005) was an American Abstract expressionist painter. He was particularly well known for his large scale Hard-edge paintings. As an artist, multiple stylistic changes occurred throughout his career, however, none of these occurred at the same time as any popular emerging style or acted against a particular art form. In the 1950s his style reflected the abstract expressionist tone and then transitioned to a geometric style in the 60s. During the 1980s there was a shift into acrylic painting that emphasized bright geometric space that’s deepness reflected infinity.From 1962 to 1980 he was a professor of art at Yale University.

 In 1967 Held felt that he was being limited by the flatness of previous hard edge abstractions. He wanted a way to create more picture space in some way, however painting shapes onto shapes would constantly hide beneath one another. Therefore, Held believed that adding depth and making the shapes appear three-dimensional on the canvas was his best option.

 All of these works are composed in acrylic black and white. The quasi-geometric structures zigzag in all directions making complex shapes usually cubical. Despite the same consistency of content throughout the works each maintain a unique design of their own. Grid like elements started becoming more apparent suggesting structure similar to that of the framework in buildings. The paintings are in a way disorienting with their uncentered patterns and no place to gain perspective. As his art’s complexity grew the idea of his art to be deemed minimalistic became less of a dominant label. Another remarkable characteristic of these works is the scale. For example, in Philadelphia during 1976 he painted his two largest murals ever created, Order/Disorder and Ascension/Descension. Each mural was 13 x 90 feet and stretches throughout an office building. Wikipedia,

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