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Julie Mehretu

Less than three weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, Mehretu began work at Crown Point Press. Rather than addressing the hurricane specifically, she took on the dynamic patterns of storms in general. Fluid brushstrokes dominate the working proof for Circulation — they suggest cloudbursts, zigzag lightning, blasting precipitation — and create a tempestuous scene that evokes mythological storms or the biblical Deluge (see banner, above). In contrast, the crisper lines and radiating red parabolas added to the final print call to mind contemporary meteorological imagery: weather maps, Doppler radar, storm fronts, wind speeds, vectors, and so forth. Having pushed Circulation in one direction, Mehretu changed course, transforming a freely drawn, turbulent scene into a more precise, scientific, and modern view.


Julie Mehretu working at Crown Point Press, photograph by Kathan Brown, Courtesy Crown Point Press

Banner image: Detail, Julie Mehretu, Circulation (working proof 9), 2005, color etching, spitbite aquatint, aquatint, and engraving with graphite and wash additions, Crown Point Press, © Julie Mehretu

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