Gretchen Albrecht

B. 1943

As a pioneering abstractionist during the 1970’s, Gretchen Albrecht employed vibrant colour and harmonious geometry to document her search for a personal metaphysical cosmology. The swirling worlds of luminous colour that define her mature work unfurl in a delicately poetic dance, conveying the power and the beauty of nature with a degree of intimacy that resonates within the viewer. Solid, rectilinear bands of colour create spatial depth and contrast geometry with gesture - alluding to a conversation between impulse and intent. In her ambition to render the world in terms of its emotional appearance, Albrecht has infused the potency of experience into an aesthetic that is now one of the most widely recognized in New Zealand. The integration of her signature ovular and hemispheric canvases into our national iconographical language is a testament to her importance as an artist, and her contribution to the cultural history of the country.

During a career that spans 50 years, Albrecht has established herself as one of New Zealand’s contemporary art masters. After graduating from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 1963, Colin McCahon recognized her talent and opened her first solo exhibition in 1965. She was awarded the Francis Hogdkins Fellowship in 1981 and published the first of four monographs several years later. The latter half of her career has featured several major retrospectives, her inclusion in all major public collections in New Zealand and extensive representation in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, USA, UK and Europe.