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Studio Lecture Series: Julie Mehretu

HOODNYX AND DOGMA, Painting as Resistance
Julie Mehretu's presentation will offer a survey of her practice over the past twenty years, delving into language and abstraction, and a focus on what it means to create, invent and paint amidst the rise of authoritarian populist political upheaval.
"As a painter, I can't divorce myself from the political realities of the world around me. All that is happening, politically, culturally, economically, informs my studio practice and the paintings I make. At any given moment, I am consuming immense amounts of information that permeate every gesture. This is the liminal space where new possibilities emerge." -- Julie Mehretu.
Perhaps best-known for her large-scale paintings that combine gestural mark-making with architectural renderings, Mehretu's most recent suite of paintings in the solo exhibition, Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae, (2016), at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York reflected a departure for the artist, through an evolved vocabulary of abstraction. Bold and spirited mark-making merged with an ardent gestural cadence, introducing works at once epic and intimate. Steeped with references from classical mythology and Egyptology, to graffiti, abstraction, poetry and politics, Mehretu’s new paintings captured an expanded show of gestural force. Oscillating in viewpoint through their multiple layers of both valiant and minute marks, the paintings insinuated something of a survey of the annals and multiplicities of history, across both politics and art. Indeed, across time and practice, Mehretu's work -- both paintings and on paper -- has consistently offered glimpses into an ongoing conversation not only in and with art history, but also the geo-politics of the world. She is currently working on a commission of two large-scale paintings for SFMOMA's Haas Atrium, to be unveiled in September 2017.
"If the huge, architectonic, sometimes overcalculated paintings that made Mehretu a star evoked a world in forward motion, her recent works, at once freer and bleaker, feel keyed to a moment in which globalization has soured. Only one piece—a six-panel etching—invokes world events literally, with a whirlwind of marks overlaying outlines of Damascus. In the new paintings, layers of black gashes stammer across smoggy gray backgrounds that reveal hints of mauve or teal. Graffiti tags or Cy Twombly’s signatures might come to mind, but Mehretu rejects personal expression in favor of collective sorrow." -- The New Yorker, October 2016.
The Studio Lecture Series is sponsored by the Millicent Greenwell Clapp Fund for Studio Art.
Image: Julie Mehretu, Stelae 2 (Voodoo), 2016 Ink and Acrylic on Canvas 120 x 144 in, Photo: Tom Powel Imaging. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery © Julie Mehretu



Thursday, March 2, 2017. 05:30 PM


Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building, 355 Roth Way


Department of Art & Art History




Free and open to the public. Now accepting advance registration