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Julie Mehretu | High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Julie Mehretu’s large-scale print Epigraph, Damascus is part of her mid-career retrospective co-organized by LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of Modern Art, currently on view at High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

Epigraph, Damascus is a major achievement in printmaking for Mehretu, representing a new integration of architectural drawings and paintings overlaid with a dense array of marks. Working closely with Copenhagen-based master printer Niels Borch Jensen, Mehretu used photogravure, a technique from the 1800s that fuses photography with etching. She built the foundation of the print on a blurred photograph layered with hand-drawn images of buildings in Damascus, Syria, composited with a layer of gestural marks made on large sheets of Mylar. On a second plate, she executed her characteristic variety of light-handed brushstrokes while innovatively using techniques known as aquatint and open bite. Describing the interplay of architectural details and mark making in this work, she says, “You have the skeleton of the ghosts of Damascus, and then you have the blur, the haze, or breakdown of the ongoing civil war.”

– High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

Julie Mehretu, Epigraph, Damascus, 2016, photogravure, sugar lift aquatint, spit bite aquatint, open bite, 248 x 574 cm (framed)
Julie Mehretu Epigraph, Damascus (detail), 2016
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