Julie Mehretu

Edition Review

  • Julie Mehretu, Myriads, Only By Dark (2014)

  • Four-panel multicolored aquatint and spit-bite on Hahnemühle Museum Etching 450 gsm, 81 1/4 x 45 1/4 inches, each panel. Edition of 30. Printed by the artist, published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. $175,000, framed.

Julie Mehretu’s intricate assemblages of lines, washes and gestural marks articulate familiar yet often unidentifiable linguistic and architectonic traces, fragments of systems for the viewer to grab onto. In painting and print, she layers architectural plans, maps and other schemata to invoke the histories of cities and civilizations, while heightening our awareness of how we make sense of the world.

Inspired in part by the energy of the Arab Spring, Myriads, Only By Dark is initially overwhelming in its scale (each of the four panels is nearly seven feet high), immediacy and dynamism. Only gradually do the prints disclose their deliberate structure, built up, layer upon layer, through an assortment of etching techniques and no fewer than 57 different plates.

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