Artist Julie Mehretu

blog Oct 26, 2019
Artnet Biography:
Julie Mehretu is a contemporary Ethiopian-born American artist known for her large-scale abstract paintings. Blending elements of Abstract Expressionism with Pop Art, her work bears the influence of important 20th-century painters, including Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, and Piet Mondrian. Working as both painter and printmaker, Mehretu layers a mixture of pigment, graphite, and ink into heavily intersected lines of color, topographical elements, and  geometric renderings. “The earlier, more analytic impulse was to use very rational but kind of absurd techniques or tendencies—mapping, charting, and architecture—to try and make sense of who I was in my time and space and political environment,” she explained of her work.
Cityscapes and architecture have also acted as a source of inspiration for Mehretu since the beginning of her artistic career: "I think architecture reflects the machinations of politics, and that's why I am interested in it as a metaphor for those institutions. I don't think of architectural language as just a metaphor about space. It's about space, but about spaces of power, about the ideas of power…" (The artist cited in: Ibid., p. 29 Hilarie Sheets, "Julie Mehretu", Art & Auction, October, 2006).

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