Abstraction by Julie Mehretu
Julie Mehretu is a key african artist of her generation with a growing international exposure. Born in 1070 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, her family moved to the United States in 1977. She graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1992, and began pursuing an art career independently before she enrolled in the MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design.
She is known for her large-scale architectural abstractions. Julie Mehretu’s large paintings draw on elements of aerial mapping and architecture. With an underlying calligraphic complexity, Mehretu’s energetic art pieces represent accelerated urban growth, and densely populated city environments and social networks of the 21st century. Mehretu creates each painting by adding consecutive thin layers of acrylic paint on canvas and then finishing it off with delicate superimposed marks and patterns using pencil, pen, ink and streams of paint.
Mehretu’s work portrays a compression of time, space and place, independent of historical significance. From constructivism and geometric abstraction to futurism, Mehretu describes her paintings as ‘story maps of no location’ envisioning her work as imagined and abstract rather than realistic.
She blends elements of Abstract Expressionism with Pop Art, and her work bears the influence of important 20th-century abstractionists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, and Piet Mondrian. Mehretu currently lives and works in New York, NY. She was the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2005.
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