Following the latest Government guidance, Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery is temporarily closed to help protect visitors, staff and the wider community. If you have booked a ticket for a future date we will be in touch as soon as the situation is clear.
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Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970, and now resident in New York, Julie Mehretu is among the most highly regarded artists working today. A recent painting by the artist, Ghosthymn, was included in the exhibition Actions. The image of the world can be different, which marked the re-opening of Kettle’s Yard in 2018.
For this exhibition, Mehretu made a new installation of richly layered drawings and monotypes, extending her dynamic exploration of the potential of drawing and mark making which are fundamental to her artistic practice. Inspired by current world issues, her personal biography, and the history of abstraction, Mehretu’s powerful works interrogate the present with urgency and lyricism.
The exhibition was accompanied by a new publication documenting the exhibition, including an essay by Kettle’s Yard curator Amy Tobin, see the shop for more information.
“Now and then an artist comes along who turns every critical cliche on its head and proves the experts know nothing about where art is going. Julie Mehretu is one of those heroes.” Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, ★★★★★
In recent works by Julie Mehretu, the surface of each work is an animated mass of grey marks, lines, smudges and stains. There is no still centre: everything is moving, swirling, falling. It is as if we are engulfed in the immediate aftermath of an explosion, in the seconds before the detritus and dust settle to reveal a changed landscape. Mehretu’s rich and dynamic use of paint holds us there, in a suspended moment of shock and possibility.
The year 2012 marked a decisive shift in Mehretu’s work, it was no longer grounded in architectural renderings, but generated and abstracted from news photographs of particular global events and upheaval.
That we can follow the evolution of Mehretu’s painting over time and for it to speak to us in its semantic depth as we attempt to negotiate the complex dimensions of our present is proof of the force of her art. For it is not simply a matter of composition and gesture, contour and image, substrate and surface, brought together to produce the powerful aesthetic effect of her work. There is the emancipation of the act of making and the mindful intelligence of physical abandon that reflects a vital grounding in the world in which we recognise ourselves, and in which we participate. Suzanne Cotter, “The Alien Discontinuum: On painting and participating in the work of Julie Mehretu”, 2017
Julie Mehretu makes large-scale, gestural paintings that are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint
Julie Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and lives and works in New York. Mehretu has exhibited extensively including solo exhibitions at Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2017); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2009); The Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan (2007) touring to Williams College Art Gallery, Williamstown, Massachusetts and North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (both 2008) and St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2005).
In 2005 Mehretu was the recipient of the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the prestigious MacArthur Fellows Award. In 2015 she was awarded the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award.
In 2017, a monumental two-part painting, ‘HOWL, eon’ (I, II) commissioned by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was unveiled as a major, long-term installation in the lobby of the museum. An upcoming survey co-organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, opens at LACMA in Autumn 2019 and will tour to other major US venues throughout 2020.
This publication documents the exhibition Julie Mehretu Drawings and Monotypes, held at Kettle’s Yard in 2019, including an essay by Kettle’s Yard curator Amy Tobin.
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Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Tuesday – Sunday 12 – 5pm