Algorithms / Apparitions / Translations

Julie Mehretu American, born Ethiopia
Printer Gregory Burnet
Publisher Burnet Editions American

Not on view

As a reflection of the important position of printmaking within Mehretu's practice, the artist once noted that it is "in printmaking that new things are invented, which I then want to bring into painting and drawing." She has praised the technique for its difficulty, stating that "it is so arduous to make a line, you need to think about why it’s important to do it." As with her paintings and drawings, Mehretu's prints reflect layers of marks and tones, as well as references and meanings drawn from a wide variety of sources to include topographical maps, architectural forms, and art historical references, as well as philosophical concepts (such as the Situationist ideas of the dérive and psychogeography), politics and current events (such as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the war in Syria), and the appearance and function of language and mark making.

Algorithms / Apparitions / Translations comprises five prints in which Mehretu explores a variety of intaglio techniques ranging from hard-ground and soft-ground etching, to engraving, aquatint, spitbite, and drypoint. In addition to these more traditional printmaking techniques, she also incorporated impressions from such unorthodox objects as paper towels, whose woven paper texture provides an usual effect. These meticulously constructed compositions includes large sections of feathery grey patches, lines whose colors change along a trajectory, wiry vectors that seem to sputter and leave chain-like impressions, as well as marks that resemble elemental forms of writing or alphabets. In addition to layers of tones, textures, lines, and colors, there are multiple small marks, which have particular significance for Mehretu, who stated in a 2011 video about her art, "each mark represents individual agency, an active character" and that, when joined together, "lots of small marks have power."

Algorithms / Apparitions / Translations, Julie Mehretu (American, born Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1970), Etching with aquatint, spitbite, softground, hardground, drypoint, engraving, and pochoir

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