Marian Goodman Gallery shows the first major solo exhibition by Julie Mehretu in New York.
A series of new paintings will be on view as well as a suite of five new etchings. The works were created over the past three years in New York in the aftermath of events of the Arab Spring which were the point of departure for the monumentally scaled MOGAMMA (In Four Parts), 2012, recently presented at Documenta (13), 2012, Kassel. They follow a group exhibition “In Praise of Doubt” at Punta dell Dogana, Venice in 2011; and a recent presentation of her Mind Breath and Beat Drawings at our Paris space in January-March 2013.
Julie Mehretu’s paintings are structured through layers of clear acrylic, architectural tracings, drawing, ink, graphite, erasure and mark-making. The works are built up in stages with additive elements generating, erasing, or re-inscribing the previous. Culled from archival sources, with architectural structures serving as a foundation for her renderings— from ancient city plans, civic buildings, urban designs, public squares, tombs, palaces, ruins – the paintings combine meticulous graphic drawing with spontaneous gesture. Mehretu begins with the premise of architecture as a medium of social history and power and proceeds to imagine a new present, a fictional topography realized through a formal vocabulary of line, color, gesture, markings, grids, characters, swarms, blurs, washes, which are overlaid and stratified on the surface of the canvas. In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern day phenomenology of the social, the works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.
Concurrent with this exhibition, MOGAMMA (A Painting in Four Parts) and other recent works will be presented in a partner exhibition across the Atlantic, at White Cube Bermondsey, London.
A catalogue Liminal Squared, with color reproductions and essays by TJ Demos and Tacita Dean, will be published this summer, on the occasion of the joint exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery and White Cube.