Julie Mehretu (American, b. 1970 in Ethiopia)
Landscape Allegories, 2004
Etching, engraving, dry-point, sugar-bite, aquatint on Somerset white textured paper
19 in x 21 3/4 in
Lent by Jennifer Vorbach, New York
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts
Photograph Laura Shea
Born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Julie Mehretu now lives and works in New York City, after earning her BA from Kalamazoo College, then her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Her works depict different imagined landscapes, through combining both architectural and geographical forms. She also uses a variety of non-linear perspectives in most of her works, which suggests a break from perceived reality. The break from reality in the abstract landscapes represents the melding of space, time, and art history into one dense ideological mass. Mehretu describes her works with these and other abstract landscapes as “self-ethnographic,” a project which developed out of her interest in the “numerous conflicting stories, histories, and disparate cultures that, through time and place, came together to make me.” (Source) Her claim to subjecthood through this project is a rejection of colonial Othering, and at the same time, the abstracted landscapes deny the colonizing gaze a grasp on an easily identifiable and Other-able landscape.