An astute draftsperson, Julie Mehretu’s abstract gestures, interlacing lines, baroque graffiti, animated explosions, and multiple vanishing points reveal the different dimensions that coexist within her invented universe, while simultaneously illustrating a complex overlapping of time, architecture, and movement through space. A color lithograph, printed on Somerset Satin paper, forms the base of Rogue Ascension, and two sheets of transparent Denril (a drafting and art vellum with a matte surface) sit on top. The Denril sheets have black-and-white lithographs printed on both sides. Mehretu’s mark-making lends itself beautifully to lithography; the plates are layered, creating a sense of depth and flux, and the different intensities of the black plates create both fine architectural lines and luscious washes. This imagery stems from Mehretu’s vivid imagination as well as her personal experience of living in varied places, such as Ethiopia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Michigan, and Texas. Other imagery is more universal and easily recognizable such as a subway car window zooming through space, rays of sunshine breaking through ruins, and the ascension.
Rogue Ascension, 2002
Print on Somerset Satin white paper and Denril vellum
32 × 24 1/2 in (81.3 × 62.2 cm)
Edition of 35 with 7 APs
Printed by Maurice Sanchez
Produced by Lisa Ivorian Gray for the New Museum