The depth and complexity of Julie Mehretu’s printmaking was honed by her education in etching. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mehretu produces vast abstracts at her Berlin studio with a team of assistants drawn from an eclectic range of backgrounds—figurative arts, illustration, printmaking—helping her bring into being huge, intricate pieces that dance on an edge where precise geometric forms meet data and shapeshift into natural curves.
Merhetu first started printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design in the mid-1990s; since then, she’s worked collaboratively at studios all over the United States. The meticulous discipline of etching would come to inform her approach to drawing and painting as well, and free her to employ the bird’s-eye view perspectives she builds into her explorations of the intersection of chaos and order.
Her richly layered works invite the viewer to explore the experience of living amid multiple, intersecting systems and realities of near-infinite complexity. “Architectural renderings and aerial views of urban grids enter the work as fragments, losing their real-world specificity and challenging narrow geographic and cultural readings,” observes a blogger from Art21.org
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College will present the solo exhibition “Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu
,” as well as a selection of six of Mehretu’s paintings and drawings from the collection of alumna Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn ’89 and her husband Nicolas Rohatyn, on view from April 13 to June 17. Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn will deliver a lecture during the exhibition opening events on April 13. Fllac.vassar.edu