Swept away by the careering colour-rich compositions of Julie Mehretu

Date
15 June 2012
Reading Time
1 minute read

Julie Mehretu’s surges of colour, line, and geometric form are pretty awesome. Her energetic combinations of painting, drawing, and digital layering processes reflect many aspects of our physical and virtual environments, and yet consistently and engagingly retains their visual abstraction.

Born in Ethiopia and currently based in New York, Julie employs mark-making of many kinds; flat geometric colour-planes and straight angled edges collide with soft feathery textures, and all manner of forms curve and career along a mind-boggling variety of perspectival trajectories. Her images are often painted onto large-scale canvases in ink and acrylic, and have also been published in the form of prints and editions. Her work is often said to be a meditation on global population shifts, urban mapping, and structural planning, and is inspired by source material as diverse as Japanese Zen ink painting and architectural blueprints. Mind, blown.

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Julie Mehretu: Stadia II, 2004. Ink and acrylic on canvas. 108 × 144 in. Carnegie Museum of Art.

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Julie Mehretu: Babel Unleashed, 2001. Ink and acrylic on canvas.

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Julie Mehretu: Local Calm, 2005. Sugar lift aquatint with soft ground and hard ground etching and engraving on Gampi paper chine colle – printed at Crown Point Press, San Francisco by Dena Schuckit. copyright Julie Mehretu

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Julie Mehretu: Highlife (of Graceland after C. Abani), 2006. Ink and acrylic on canvas. 72 × 96 in. White Cube.

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Julie Mehretu: Highlife (of Graceland after C. Abani). 2006. Ink and acrylic on canvas. 72 × 96 in.
White Cube.

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Julie Mehretu: Empirical Construction, Istanbul. 2004. Ink and acrylic on canvas. 120 × 180 in. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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