Cheryl Sim on the work of Julie Mehretu
Julie Mehretu was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the US as a child. In her large-format paintings and drawings, she probes architecture, ruins, maps, media images and the city—the densely populated urban environments with accelerated mobility typical of the twenty-first century. She reflects these spaces through the build up of layers of acrylic paint on canvas, overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink, as well as techniques of erasure and palimpsest. Her work follows in the tradition of abstract painting, Italian Futurism, Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism but most eloquent is her idea of creating ‘visual neologisms’—when language isn’t enough to get into the interstices and poetics of meaning and experience.
About Julie Mehretu
Julie Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and lives and works in New York. She has exhibited in several important group exhibitions including: Poetic Justice, 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003); Whitney Biennial, São Paolo Biennial, and Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004); the Biennale of Sydney, and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); Automatic Cities, MCA San Diego (2009); From Picasso to Julie Mehretu, British Museum, London (2010); and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012). Solo exhibitions include Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2003); St Louis Art Museum (2005) and MUSAC, Léon (2006); City Sitings, Detroit Institute of Art and Black City Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek (2007); North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (2008); Grey Area, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2009); and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010). In 2015 she was honoured with the US State Department’s ‘National Medal of Arts’.