Completed in 1960, these rarely exhibited works on paper were largely unseen during Held's lifetime and offer a new perspective on the artist’s attempts to advance ideas of form and space in contemporary painting.
A departure from Held’s more recognizably hard-edged, overlapping geometric abstractions, these are spare works consisting of one or two brushstrokes of black ink on waxed paper. Disarmingly simple, they are not considered studies but rather a series unto itself, existing as an exacting visual preamble to his larger-scale statements on perception and depth of field.
In their scale and willingness to subsume massive swaths of the visual field, the works in Brushstrokes share a theoretic disposition with the architectural forms of Held’s Alphabet Paintings, which were completed around the same time. While that body of work sought to impose order, the India ink drawings selected for this exhibition exist as far more liberated, near-organic forms.