Ms. Mehretu, now based in Harlem, is known for her large-scale paintings and drawings which combine maps and diagrams of socially charged public spaces layered with the artist’s personal language of signs and symbols.
Looking at Julie Mehretu’s work can be both daunting and mesmerizing, or in her own words, like getting a glimpse of “this little world that went berserk”. Primarily a painter, Mehretu deconstructs architectural plans of airport terminals, maps, and city grids, and re-organizes their elements into wholly new, multi-dimensional, semi-abstract compositions. The result is work that references the chaotic elements of a public space, a busy street, a city come alive, charged with the feeling of watching a great unravelling—or re-knitting—of the social fabric of our time.
(left) Mia Keeler, Joanne Price, & Cole Rogers editioning Entropia (review).
(right) Julie Mehretu signing.
Highpoint Editions’ inaugural publication is a print by Julie Mehretu, co-published with the Walker Art Center through a program supported by the Surdna Foundation. The edition commemorates her yearlong artist residency at the Walker, which culminated in 2003 in an exhibition and catalogue featuring nine newly commissioned, large scale paintings. It was during this in-residence period that Mehretu began her collaboration with Highpoint Editions Master Printer Cole Rogers, with whom she worked closely to develop a complex marriage of screen print and lithographic techniques that could faithfully translate her luminous, layered imagery to printmaking. To create the print’s broad palette, Mehretu developed a working drawing on her computer that was used to create stencils and match ink colors for the first screenpritned layers. She then created four detailed drawings on translucent drafting paper. These became lithographic plates, which were printed on the first layers, after which more screenprinting was added. At 32 colors, the 33.5" x 44" print is an innovative work on paper and a testament to the tradition of collaborative printshops.
(left) Cole Rogers applies the wheat starch paste for one of the collé layers.
(right) during the collé process Justin Strom & Zac Adams place the dampened gampi paper.
Three drawings created for Entropia (review) are merged with a fourth new drawing by Julie Mehretu to create Entropia: Construction. Printed lithographically on four sheets of Gampi paper. Each sheet is layered and attached with wheat starch on to a Somerset backing sheet, a process known as chine collé. The use of the tissue thin Gampi allows the drawings to be simultaneously married to, and supported by the natural paper surface, resulting in a diaphanous surface that supports the dynamic drawings.