Julie Mehretu (born 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is an artist, best known for her densely layered abstract, large-scale paintings and drawings and her technique of layering different elements and media. Her paintings are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint. Her canvases overlay different architectural features such as columns, facades and porticoes with different geographical schema such as charts, building plans and city maps and architectural renderings for stadiums, international airports, and other public gathering hubs, seen from different perspectives, at once aerial, cross-section and isometric. Her drawings are preparatory to her large paintings, and sometimes interim between paintings.
In 2000, she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. She was the recipient of the 2001 Penny McCall Award On September 20, 2005, she was named as one of the 2005 recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, often referred to as the “genius grant.”
In 2007, while completing a residency at the American Academy in Berlin, Julie Mehretu received the 15th commission of the Deutsche Bank and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The body of work she created, Grey Area, was composed of six large-scale paintings, completed between 2007 and 2009 in a studio in Berlin.
Julie Mehretu will be having her works exhibited for the first time in Ethiopia at The Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in collaboration with the United States Embassy as Julie Mehretu:The Addis Show, from July 8, 2016 to August 6, 2016.
The show will feature 17 of Mehretu’s paintings, ranging from her earliest paintings to her most recent works. The Museum is especially pleased to host this show as it will mark the first time that Mehretu will exhibit her work in Ethiopia.
Along with the exhibition there will be a series of events with the artist, including a daylong symposium featuring artists, architects, curators and art historians, and workshops and lectures at Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar Universities.