Julie Mehretu – Stadia I (2004)

Half Ethiopian, half American, abstract artist Julie Mehretu moved with her family to the US when she was only seven years old. Her immigrant status made her more sensitive to what makes a culture, an environment, more curious about how history, social norms, and the development of architecture through time infuse the physical space around us. Mehretu’s inspiration comes from varied sources and she approaches her art with curiosity and method, much like an anthropologist would examine events or places. To her, art is a means to explore who she is, to understand herself, her background and her identity.

Julie Mehretu - Stadia I
Julie Mehretu – Stadia I (2004), ink and acrylic on canvas

With the 2018 Winter Olympics starting today in PyeongChang, I thought you would enjoy one of her earlier abstract paintings, Stadia I. The artwork expresses the exuberance and dizzying dynamism of a sports arena, all done through layers of basic shapes, lines and ink marks that indicate direction, movement, volume and noise. You can zoom in on it here.

In time, Mehretu’s style became more intricate and politicized. Her large scale paintings and murals are meant to offer a cinematic experience, to ensure that the viewer will “have to travel through” her maps and landscapes. I will now leave it to the artist herself to explain to you, in this short interview, how she approaches her art and the processes it requires to bring it to fruition.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. The energy and excitement in this piece IS exhilarating. Fascinating what thought and detailed and philosophical consideration she gives to her pieces.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gabriela says:

      I’m so glad you like it! She’s really something. I wanted to share this much sooner, but with the Olympics right around the corner, I thought it would be best to wait a while. There are some circles there to the right that make me think of the Olympic circles.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh ya, that drew my attention too, as if they are the rings either flying apart or hurtling together.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. thank you for bringing her to my attention. Ka-pow. So dynamic and risk taking. I will be sure to check this artist out. Again thank-you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      Her works are truly fascinating, I think you’re going to enjoy most of them, if not all. I like the energy she exudes through her lines. She’s simply brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mel says:

    Usually not too fond of abstract art, but I absolutely love this piece. Love the dynamic and colours. The movement/energy is beautiful. Thanks for posting about this artist, I´m just checking her other works!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      I’m so glad you like it, Mel! That was my goal… to find great abstract art that is accessible and doesn’t leave people confused or with the impression that even a child could do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sigrun says:

    A great choice for the occasion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      Thank you, Sigrun. I normally shy away from pairing paintings with events, but I thought this would be a great match.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a captivating painting. So much can be said about its dynamism as well as celebratory paraphernalia.
    Every other day you post a painting and then I end up making it my wall paper . I will wait this one out , give time for landscape of figures to rest on my screen for a little while.
    Thank you again. Great work.

    Also a shout out for posting fair number of female artists. I know this shouldn’t be mentioned as a separate note, but one finds every field of life and art skewed towards only one gender which isn’t fair. Hence, my appreciation for you keeping the balance right.

    Warm regards
    R

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      Aww, now I feel guilty. “Landscape with Figures” is a very depressive wallpaper to have and look at every day…. You should quickly replace it with “Stadia I”. 🙂 It might not seem like much, but these external stimuli influence our mood greatly. Which is why I also need to stop reading “The Lonely City”, it saddens me too much.

      Thank you for caring about female artists! I wish I did them more justice, I still feel like I don’t feature them enough.

      Like

      1. “Landscape with Figures” seems like a mirror to me, what with my office settings. But yes, “Stadia I” will get it’s place soon.
        Completely agree with you on the point about external stimuli.

        You have time at your hands and huge treasure trove of artists and their work to chose from. No worries, you will do good by them.!

        Liked by 1 person

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