Untitled; abstract shapes composed of lines, spirals and deliberate smudges. 2002 Ink on vellum and mylar
- Height: 482 millimetres
- Width: 557 millimetres
The artist spoke of her work with the freelance curator and writer Franklin Sirmans (former United States editor for 'Flash Art International' magazine) in 2001 [published in the 'New York Times, 9 December 2001 (Arts & Leisure Section)]; "Part of my work is about mapping. I like the idea that everything fits into a structure with a map or an architectural plan, but part of it also about mapping who I am, and that's a little more complicated. My parents come from historically opposing points of ethnicity: Polish Jew; English; Lynchburg, Virginian; Amharic, Tigre and Eritrean, but somehow they came together to make me. I was painting [in the early 1990s] mushy abstractions with tons of paint and tons of marks. Eventually it made sense to me that, unless I was going to wait tables and party with wannabe models forever, I had to get my act together. So I decided to apply to art schools and I went to the Rhode Island School of Design. I am hoping that the paintings [of the early 2000s] operate in the Baroque, over-the-top epic narrative. I look at them as current historical narrative paintings, pulling from the likes of Delacroix. The paintings are a way of navigating, not just a painting, and all the historical weight of pictures, but a narrative filled with urgency and optimism like a strange dream."
Label text from 2016-18, Sep-Jan touring exhibition, 'Lines of Thought'
Mehretu's drawing enacts a dialogue between tracings from architectural
plans or maps and her own abstract marks and characters. In this way this drawing is built up on the transparent Mylar like a kind of palimpsest. The range of visual language - from the meteorological and seismographic, to the organic and gestural - is incredibly varied, evoking contours, isobars, plans, outlines and cross-sections as well as smudges, clouds, ripples and waves. Mehretu has described her works as operating like 'narrative maps without a specific place or location'. [C. de Zegher, 'Julie Mehretu: Drawings', New York: Rizzoli, 2007, p. 33.]
Literature: C. de Zegher, 'Julie Mehretu: Drawings', New York: Rizzoli, 2007, p. 79, pl. 31.
Not on display (American Framed Basement XXc)
Exhibited 2010-11 Oct-April BM, Picasso to Julie Mehretu (no cat.)
2016 3 Sep - 6 Nov, Poole Museum, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
2017 1 Jan - 25 Feb, The Brynmor Jones Library Art Gallery, University of Hull, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
2017 12 Mar - 5 May, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
2017 May - Sep, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
2017-2018 Oct - Jan, RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
Prints & Drawings
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: PDO40370
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.