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Art Exhibition at University of Maine Museum of Art, January 23 – March 27, 2004

Contact: Joe Carr, 581-3744

The University of Maine Museum of Art will be hosting three exhibitions at Norumbega Hall in downtown Bangor from January 23 through March 27, 2004.

Expanding Universe
The Recent Paintings of Al Held

Grand new works by the great geometric abstractionist Al Held (b. 1928), on view at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor from January 23 through March 27, 2004,  posit a certain equivalence between the sensible world and the realm of the spirit.  This exhibition brings together paintings and watercolors from the past decade by the internationally known American master.  Distinguished by a colossal scale and vibrant colors, Held’s new paintings reveal sections of an immense universe in which geometric elements of varying shapes and sizes float freely about in multidirectional, non-gravitational spaces.  With their arching vistas, floating orbs and snaking “wormholes,” all covered with candy-colored diamond patterning, Held’s pictures suggest the sensuous physicality of the ideal plane.

Held’s paintings are far from pre-planned.  He creates each painting using a labor-intensive process that can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete. He begins each with an intuitively inspired visual idea and then develops and hones it’constantly making changes and painting, taping, repainting, scraping away, sanding, and refining each surface to reduce any history of the process or visible traces of the artist’s hand.  Likewise, the watercolors also on exhibit developed alongside the paintings and in no way represent preliminary ideas for the large-scale canvases.

Al Held studied painting in both New York City and Paris. After returning to New York in 1953, he mingled with many of the pioneering artists of the New York School and soon began painting in an Abstract Expressionist style.  In the early 1960s, Held was appointed Associate Professor at Yale University, where he taught through the mid 1980s.  Held continued to paint throughout his teaching career, moving from flat, reductive abstractions to paintings that created illusionistic space.   For much of this time, he worked only in black and white, a palette choice that permitted him to focus specifically on spatial organization. Following a 1981 trip to Rome to serve as a Fellow at the American Academy, the artist decided to complicate his paintings further with the addition of light and color. Today, Held divides his time between studios in Boiceville, New York and Perugia, Italy. His paintings are included in more than thirty-five museum collections around the world.

Press Release / UMMA ‘ Art Exhibition January 23 ‘ March 27, 2004

Prospect of Light
Images from Pinhole and Plastic Cameras

The University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor will be hosting Prospect of Light: Images from Pinhole and Plastic Cameras, on view from January 23 through March 27, 2004.  This exhibition, organized by the Museum of Art with photographer Jonathan Bailey, includes John Boeckeler, Daniel Bouzard, David Burnett, Anne-Claude Cotty, Walter Crump, Christopher James, Gregg D. Kemp, Douglas Lucak, Robert Owen, Harvey Stein, Craig J. Sterling, and Willie Anne Wright.</


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