Monday, March 14, 2011

artist pick: julie mehretu

oddly enough for me I don't often talk about art here. When I run into people from my art school days I joke that I'm "still on sabbatical." I kind of think my art has taken a natural course and has evolved into my interest in interiors. The passion for interiors has been there since I was a little girl but it wasn't what was in the forefront during college, painting was.

I wrote my senior thesis on an artist named Julie Mehretu. I first learned of her when a printmaking professor of mine told me my work reminded him of hers. I looked her up later that day in the library and I was blown away. I'll be frank I'm generally not a fan of modern art. I spent enough time in critiques with enough slacker kids that loved to explain away their clearly slapped together in 10 minutes work with ridiculous "profound" reasoning. I've got a B.S. detector people and I use it liberally especially when it comes to modern art. I hear a lot of people say "I just don't get it?" or "my 5 year old could do that." and I got to say I'm inclined to agree a lot of the time. Here's a thought: Why can't something just be nice to look at? Whats wrong with that? This was blasphemous in the higher education setting but it's what I was continually thinking. But I digress. Here are some of Julie Mehretu's amazing paintings. To me they are beautiful for their sketchy marks, for their feminine colors, for the depth I see when I stare at them. Generally her work is very large in scale and that makes them seem all the more powerful. I encourage you to click on the individual images to get a better view. The details are there, buried layer upon layer.

Julie Mehretu in action

mural in Goldman Sachs lobby

in this one especially i love the barely there implied color, so beautiful

Bomb Magazine published an article written by Lawrence Chua in 2005. In it Chua describes her work: 

  "Mehretu’s paintings are composed of layers, fragments and movements. One can often detect the detritus of characters, architectural drawings, graffiti, comic books, air-brushing and ink wash circulating in the space of her paintings. These fragments are not the broken parts of total languages, they are part of a process of describing the world: they come together as they fall apart. Typically, Mehretu begins these paintings by imposing a plan that will dictate the composition, then responds to these outlines with architectural drawings. Gestural marks inhabit those spaces: they act on and are acted upon by the built space of the painting. Some of Mehretu’s recent paintings quote from stadium plans and the architecture of mass sport. We share this interest in the conjoined genealogies of modernity and the sports stadium and the ways in which contemporary experience is mediated by a scopic regime that was historically shaped in such arenas. To look at what is happening in the paintings is to be aware of the feeling of being inside and outside of a thing."

These are concepts I can grasp. These aren't far out acid tripping, charlie sheen warlock type explanations but ones that make sense to me and that may very well be one of the reasons I clung to her work for inspiration during those looooong "side eye" inducing crits in college. Anyway I hope you love her her work as much as I do but if you don't thats ok too. It's all subjective and I'll still love you anyway. Happy Monday it's back to interiors for me and painting some more doors. 

No comments:

Post a Comment