Two Rooms, is a contemporary art gallery located in a converted warehouse in Central Auckland, New Zealand.
An important focus of the gallery is a residency program, supporting ambitious new projects and facilitating the exchange of ideas between New Zealand and international artists. A converted warehouse two doors down from the gallery is available as a studio for invited international artists to stay for a period of up to 3 months.
When we visited, Gretchen Albrecht’s latest work, Between gesture and geometry, was on.
Light, all encompassing, leads us. Carving an arc across the pulse of days, the world of experience takes anchor within the softly shifting states of emanation and shadow, atmosphere and attribute. The fluctuating rhythms of light and darkness, with their indifferent complicity, perform as guiding partners in the cyclic passage of human knowledge.
The work of Gretchen Albrecht begins in this confluence, in a mode she has defined as an ‘impure’ form of abstraction. Connotative rather than located purely within the realm of the mind, Albrecht’s work operates in a fertile twilight terrain.
Each canvas records a gestural meeting point between the artist’s embodied knowledge of the concrete, illuminated world and her studied inquiries into the more nebulous realm of insight, metaphor, abstraction and myth.
Drawing from the world in order to summon understanding from its many rhythms and textures, Albrecht’s practice can be firmly situated within the trajectories of international post-war abstraction. Nevertheless, Albrecht speaks directly to Aotearoa, articulating the themes, moods and nuance of these islands; her perennial source of inspiration returned to time and again.
The recent paintings brought together for Between gesture and geometry station a series of meditations on the twining of light and knowledge observed from this geographical vantage point. The three Hemisphere paintings; Vigils (the night watch), Jumping into the lightand Prime ‘the sun has risen’, are each excerpted from a larger series of work that dwell on radiant states within a single daily cycle.
Titled in resonance with the first three of the ‘Kanonical Hours’ (Vigils, Lourdes, Prime) each painting imparts the tone of the corresponding passage of moments. While Compline is also the title of an hour that falls within this series, Nearing the Compline Hour, Crossing the Sand-Bar andFar, Far Away, deal more directly with notions of illumination and space, and the generative turbulence of elemental forces.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, gesture and geometry are the equivalent elemental forces that are invoked in Albrecht’s studio. Following the motion of the turning earth, moving in mind through the insights of human history, these are the language through which Albrecht locates all others.