Julie Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970. She earned a BA from Kalamazoo College in in 1992 and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997.
Mehretu’s dense, line-based large-scale paintings and drawings refer to elements of mapping and architecture, exploring the ways that groups interact in societies and urban climates. The works consist of multiple layers of paint, pencil, and ink, creating depth and compressing time and space. She explores the traditions of Italian Futurists, Abstract Expressionist Color Field painting, and Kazimir Malevich’s geometric abstractions in order to pose questions about the relationships between contemporary urban utopian visions and abstraction. Mehretu describes her works as “story maps of no locations”, pictures of imagined conglomerations of reality that trace the stories of cities, histories, wars, and geographies while simultaneously revealing elements of her own personal biography.
Mehretu is a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant and her work has been shown in the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the British Museum (London). She lives and works in New York.
The artist’s work is featured in RxArt Coloring Book Between the Lines, Vol. 5.