Acrylic on canvas
1540 x 2445mm
In 1990 Gretchen Albrecht began a series of Nocturnes in which she deserted the hemisphere shaped canvas in favour of the oval. Each one was placed on the floor to be painted, the artist beginning with layer upon layer of thin acrylic wash, poured and sponged up, gradually building a surface that combined depth of colour and translucency. This was a meditative process. Next, violent sweeps of black paint were applied around the edges of the oval, blotting out what lay underneath and enclosing the central core. Over the black the artist trailed metallic gold making much more abbreviated marks. Finally the artist applied rectangles in thick oil paint like a full stop at the end of a sentence, signalling the completion of meaning. Straight sided, precise in outline, each rectangle hangs suspended in the work, providing a point by which to measure the surrounding curving, swirling rhythms.
Nocturne (A Measure of Time) is illustrated in Mary Barr (ed.), La Distancia Mira Hacia Nosotros: 10 Artistas de Nueva Zelanda/Distance Looks Our Way: 10 Artists from New Zealand ([Te Whanganui-a-Tara]: Trustees, Distance Looks Our Way Trust, 1992), 37.