About the space of half an hour
For "about the space of half an hour," Julie Mehretu's third solo show at Marian Goodman Gallery, the artist divided her new paintings into two categories: that which she made before the pandemic—and that which she produced while on lockdown. In this light, it feels particularly fitting that Mehretu's starting point for this body of work was The Book of Revelations. Across the resulting exhibition, news media-derived imagery depicting conflict and unrest plays a central thematic role as well.
Fundamental to Mehretu's technique is her use of layers: not only in terms of form and medium, but also through abundant references to space and histories. Applying paint, drawings, and screen-prints over photographs, Mehretu eventually elides the original image in the process of blending the other materials across each painting's often monumental surface. This treatment is not a means toward erasure—to wit, the finished product more closely resembles a palimpsest as traces of photographs often remain eerily visible behind the topmost coats of pigment.
Likewise, "about the space of half an hour" taps into the broader arc of Mehretu's practice, given how, amid the whorls of colors and lines that delineate each composition, these paintings contain narrative multitudes.
Julie Mehretu, Maahes (Mihos) torch, 2018-2019 (detail). Ink and acrylic on canvas, 96 x 72 inches.