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b. 1943, New Zealand

Gretchen Albrecht Biography

New Zealand painter Gretchen Albrecht's achievements reside in a refined aesthetic practice characterised by its concise iconography. Her application of paint into, rather than onto, the canvas unifies the materials and surfaces of her images as self-contained aesthetic objects imbued with narrative possibilities.

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Gretchen Albrecht attended Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, graduating in 1963. By the end of the same decade she had established a profile as an artist of considerable promise with a series of colour-stained canvases that invited comparison with the work of Helen Frankenthaler.

The stained canvases that catapulted Gretchen Albrecht's success are large-scale rectangular pieces upon which delicate washes of acrylic are built up. Work such as Pink Cloud over Landscape (1972) exemplify the artist's approach of this period, where vibrant layers of colour act as a poetic rendition of scenes of nature.

In 1981 Gretchen Albrecht completed her first semi-circular 'hemisphere' canvases. Undertaken after a visit to Italy in 1979, analogies have been drawn between these paintings and some of the formal elements found in Renaissance art, in particular the composition of paintings by Piero della Francesca and other early Renaissance masters.

In 1989 Gretchen Albrecht developed a series of oval-shaped canvases that, like the 'hemisphere' paintings, reconcile dualities of order and impulse. These oval canvases often combine geometric and organic motifs, with works such as Light and Shadow (2016) layering rectangular forms on top of brooding tonalities.

With the arrival of the new millennium, Gretchen Albrecht extended her painterly practice to the world of sculpture, creating large stainless steel pieces that bring her visual language into three dimensions. Works such as Crossing (2005) replace the vibrant colours of her paintings with a monochromatic silver, allowing the languages of shape and shadow to take precedence.

The 21st century also saw Gretchen Albrecht return to rectangular canvases with motifs reminiscent of her oval canvases. Where the oval canvases find their edges, however, these new rectangular canvases—such as Rosa Splendour (2013)—bleed into the surrounding rectangular space, creating new senses of movement and life.

Gretchen Albrecht's work is held in the collections of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; Creative New Zealand, Wellington; and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; amongst others. She lives and works in Auckland.

Biography by Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2020

Gretchen Albrecht, After Goya ‘Maria Teresa in White’ (2020) (detail). Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen, 150 x 300 cm. Courtesy Two Rooms and Michael Lett. 

Gretchen Albrecht Featured Artworks

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After Goya ‘Maria Teresa in White’ by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtAfter Goya ‘Maria Teresa in White’, 2020Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen
150 x 300 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
After Goya ‘Maria Teresa in Black’ by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtAfter Goya ‘Maria Teresa in Black’, 2020Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen
150 x 300 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
After Goya ‘Maria Josefa’ by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtAfter Goya ‘Maria Josefa’, 2020Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen
150 x 300 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
After Goya ‘Antonia’ by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtAfter Goya ‘Antonia’, 2020Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen
150 x 300 cm
Michael Lett Contact Gallery
Torrent by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtTorrent, 1988Gouache and collage on paper
152 x 244 cm
Two Rooms Contact Gallery
Receptum by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtReceptum, 1988Gouache and collage on paper, 6 parts
214 x 470 cm
Two Rooms Contact Gallery
Rim of the Lake by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtRim of the Lake, 1989Gouache and collage on paper
152 x 210 cm
Two Rooms Contact Gallery
Arcanum by Gretchen Albrecht contemporary artwork
Gretchen AlbrechtArcanum, 1989Gouache and collage on paper
150 x 240 cm
Two Rooms Contact Gallery

Gretchen Albrecht Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Gretchen Albrecht, After Goya at Michael Lett, Auckland
Open Now
12 November–12 December 2020 Gretchen Albrecht After Goya Michael LettAuckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Gretchen Albrecht, Collages at Two Rooms, Auckland
Closed
6 March–9 April 2020 Gretchen Albrecht Collages Two RoomsAuckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Gretchen Albrecht, Between gesture and geometry at Two Rooms, Auckland
Closed
12 April–25 May 2019 Gretchen Albrecht Between gesture and geometry Two RoomsAuckland

Gretchen Albrecht Represented By

Two Rooms contemporary art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand Two Rooms Auckland

Gretchen Albrecht In Ocula Magazine

Auckland Art Shows to See: The Lowdown Ocula Feature Auckland Art Shows to See: The Lowdown By Sherry Paik, Auckland

This year, the month of May kicks off with the annual Auckland Art Fair (2–5 May 2019) at The Cloud on Queens Wharf, where over 40 leading galleries from the Pacific Rim will exhibit. A carefully curated selection of talks and exhibitions will accompany the fair, including the 2019 Projects Programme organised by Francis McWhannell titled...

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Gretchen Albrecht In Related Press

How One ‘Search Engine Artist’ Hacked Her Paintings Into Frieze Los Angeles’s Google Results Related Press How One ‘Search Engine Artist’ Hacked Her Paintings Into Frieze Los Angeles’s Google Results 12 February 2019, artnet News

Gretchen Andrew's paintings may not be under the white tent, but her internet project will definitely be seen by those looking for the big event.

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Gretchen Albrecht At Two Rooms, Auckland Related Press Gretchen Albrecht At Two Rooms, Auckland 22 April 2014, John Daly-Peoples for The NBR / 22 April 2014

In Gretchen Albrecht’s latest exhibition at Two Rooms, she is showing mainly recent large works although there are a couple of works which are  up to 12 years old, which show some of the subtle changes which  have occurred in her work over that time The rectangular works feature oval paintings, of massed colour on bare canvas....

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