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Julie Mehretu / MATRIX 211


April 18, 2004 - June 27, 2004

Julie Mehretu: Manifestation (detail), 2003; ink and acrylic on canvas; 71 x 102 in.; courtesy of carlier | gebauer, Berlin. Photo: Christian Capurro.

Download the exhibition brochure (PDF).

"Ms. Mehretu’s paintings make history painting important again."—Franklin Sirmans, New York Times

In her large-scale canvases Julie Mehretu aspires to produce “over-the-top epic narratives,” stories of our time. Painting on vellum and Mylar, Mehretu methodically builds with abstract marks to create emotionally charged worlds. Her marks have their own identities, the artist says; they are characters that evolve and interact with the systems of motion—flight patterns, wind and water currents, airports, highways, and subways—depicted in these densely layered paintings. Mehretu has said, “What I want to investigate in my work is how we are all influenced by this mega-city, this crossroads, how we’re all dependent on the grid, and yet the tiniest transaction can define us and differentiate the individual from the whole.”

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mehretu attended university in Dakar, Senegal, obtained her B.A. from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and took her M.F.A. in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. She has received critical acclaim for her work in influential shows at PS1, Queens, New York, and the Project in Harlem, as well as for her solo shows at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Art Pace, San Antonio.

Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson
Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator

The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by the generous endowment gift of Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Ann M. Hatch, Art Berliner, Christopher Vroom and Illya Szilak, Eric McDougall, and Glenn and April Bucksbaum.

Special support for Julie Mehretu/MATRIX 211 Manifestation has been provided by Wanda Kownacki and John Holton, Roselyne C. Swig, and Joan Roebuck.