Walker Art Center

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Julie Mehretu and students, 2002
photo: Cameron Wittig
Julie Mehretu + entropy8zuper!

lives and works in formed 1999; based in Ghent, Belgium
Auriea Harvey
lives and works in Ghent, Belgium
Julie Mehretu  b.1970  (Ethiopia)
lives and works in New York
Michael Samyn
lives and works in Ghent, Belgium

entropy8zuper! and Julie Mehretu have collaborated on a website for Mehretu's Twin Cities are East African cities residency and project.

Twin Cities are East African cities

Mehretu's biography reads a bit like an atlas. She was born in Ethiopia, raised in Michigan, educated in Senegal and Rhode Island, and now lives in New York. It is no surprise, then, that her work incorporates the dynamic visual vocabulary of maps, urban-planning grids, and architectural forms as it alternates between historical narratives and fictional landscapes. Holland Cotter noted in The New York Times: "Her paintings suggest a conceptual version of history painting with hand-wrought depictions of loose data shifting and weaving through cyberspace." Featured in the Walker's 2001 exhibition Painting at the Edge of the World, Mehretu creates beautifully layered paintings that combine abstract forms with the familiar, such as the Roman Coliseum and floor plans from international airports.

Mehretu combines a personal language of signs and symbols with architectural imagery to create her elaborate semi-abstractions. Simultaneously engaged with the formal concerns of color and line and the social concerns of power, history, globalism, and personal narrative, she explains: "I am interested in the multifaceted layers of place, space, and time that impact the formation of personal and communal identity." The underlying structure of Mehretu's work depicts socially charged public spaces--government buildings, museums, stadiums, schools, and international airports--drawn in the form of maps and diagrams. She inscribes her own narrative into these decontextualized, highly controlled spaces through the layering of personal markings. Encased in coats of accumulated resin, these precisely rendered idioms are drawn from an artificial, abstract cosmology. Mehretu achieves an effect of compositional maelstrom, as elements advance and recede within the graphically complex, ambiguously architectural spaces.

Mehretu was the recipient of the 2001 Penny McCall Award. Her work has been included in Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York (2000), and she has participated in group exhibitions at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2000); Exit Art, New York (1999); the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1999); and Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina (1999). Most recently, she appeared in Free Style at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2001); The Americans at the Barbican Gallery in London (2001); the Busan Biennale in Korea (2002); and the 8th Baltic Triennal in Vilnius, Lithuania (2002).

entropy8zuper! (Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn)
entropy8zuper! is committed to delivering fullblown interactive multimedia to the Web. We are not compromising on anything. The network is a social place. A place where people live and love and cry and play. Entropy8zuper! makes digital environments for people: emotional, engaging, entertaining. Information technology is not the future. We are.

Auriea Harvey is a sculptor who has traded her traditional tools for digital ones. Using new media to express her vision has become a passion. Seeing the Internet as an unsurpassed frontier for artists, Harvey created her first website in 1995. She continues to use design as a vehicle to spread greater understanding of what is possible in this medium--beauty, communication, emotion. . . .

Michael Samyn was trained a traditional graphic designer for print media but currently only designs for hypermedia, mostly for the web. As an artist he produced numerous analog art objects that nobody wanted. In 1995 he radically stopped that production in favor of digital media (they take up less space). Art and design merge in Samyn's work. He considers himself a bad designer and an ex-artist.

. . . I can think of some who, rather than merely responding to the process, are methodologically and strategically manipulating the paradigms of this universal change.
We think that it is high time that those of us in the so-called non-West (which latitude is that?) lay claim to all that is called Western, just as naturally as we lay claim to more proximate forms of cultural material.
The open intellectual climate of the Walker invites such a confrontation with its own curatorial framework and acknowledges alternative models, not one of which claims the monopoly of being “right.”