September 14, 2016

Julie Mehretu @ Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Julie Mehretu
Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

September 22 - October 29, 2016

Marian Goodman Gallery present its second major solo exhibition by JULIE MEHRETU, which will mark the inaugural exhibition of our Fall 2016 season. The exhibition, Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae, will open on Thursday, September 22, and continue through Saturday, October 29th, 2016.

A series of new paintings will be on view, accompanied in the Third Floor Project space by a new series of drawings, and a large-scale editioned etching, Epigraph, Damascus, 2016.

A monograph focusing on Julie Mehretu’s recent work, from 2012 to the present, will be published by Marian Goodman Gallery in the Fall 2016. It will feature a new essay by Glenn Ligon.

In the new paintings on view, created over the past year, there is evidence of an evolved vocabulary of abstraction. Bold and spirited mark-making merges with an ardent gestural cadence to introduce works at once epic and intimate. Steeped with references from classical mythology and Egyptology, to graffiti, abstraction, poetry and politics, Mehretu’s new paintings capture a gestural force unseen in her work before. Oscillating in viewpoint through their multiple layers of both valiant and minute marks, these paintings insinuate something of a survey of the annals and multiplicities of history, across both politics and art.

Drawing on her work of recent years, Mehretu continues the development of the grisaille, expanding it in these works on view. A new palette of greys converge and contrast amid zones of vibrant chromatic density, which project and recede from any of a latent matrix, a template, or a memory of place and event, such as the blurred and distorted photographic slides imprinted in the mind’s eye. Passages of light seem to indicate moments of elevated urgency. From these vestiges, a free and unconstrained empirical markmaking ensues. Built up in strata of drawing, ink, and paint, the previous geometries and psychogeographies of time and space give way to open intervals of refuge and release.

The marks are a record of processes, like traces or trailing spirits; an incarnation of indices from relics of walls, friezes, caves. They consist of gestures, lines, hand-marks, stains, streaks, and as well erasure amid nascent characters and motifs, some drawn as if into the sky, others approaching uncanny resonance to human elements; truncated remnants, elongated shapes and phantom bodily parts. The stealth forms verge on figuration, but remain loose, disembodied, and non intentional, like haunting apparitions, or accidents pulsating within regions of motion and gravity. Currents swallow and spit out, deep waters merge into horizons. In the end, histories and their fabulists morph and cycle through epochs, reinterpreted, and reconfiguring into new forms.

In the Third Floor Project Space, a new group of drawings (2015-2016) will be shown. Alongside these, a monumental six-part photogravure and etching titled Epigraph, Damascus, 2016, is presented, infusing elements from architectural renderings of buildings in Damascus, Syria –columns, porticos, and arches-- drawn upside-down. The magnitude of Epigraph casts a hanging shadow summoning autumn clouds, but from its multitude of stratum, also comes the sense of a possible emergent other.

JULIE MEHRETU was born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and raised in Michigan, USA. She studied at Kalamazoo College in Michigan (BA, 1992) and at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal (1990–91). She received an MFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Julie Mehretu has participated in numerous international exhibitions and biennials including most recently the Sharjah Biennial 12: the past, the present, the possible, UAE (2015) and Documenta (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). She has received international recognition for her work, including, in 2005, the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the prestigious MacArthur Fellows Award.

Forthcoming projects include a survey of Julie Mehretu’s work, which will be organized by Fundacion Serralves, Portugal, opening in May 2017 and travelling to Centro Botin, Santander, Spain, in October 2017. Mehretu has also been commissioned by SFMOMA to create a large-scale work for the Haas Atrium, which will be unveiled in 2017.

Recent shows included a solo exhibition at the Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organized in conjunction with the Desta Center and the United States Embassy, and curated by Dagmawi Woubshet (PhD), which concluded in August 2016.

In 2009 and 2010 Mehretu exhibited a cycle of large paintings in Julie Mehretu: Grey Area at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, which then travelled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit (2007), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2006), and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2003).

Marian Goodman Gallery