Albrecht was born in Auckland in 1943. She graduated from Aucklandâ€™s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1963. During the 1960â€™s Gretchen expressed herself through painting figurative images influenced by European painters. Her fascination with different methods for applying paint led her to explore alternatives and passages of colour became the dominant theme from 1967-70. Abstracted still life, garden and landscapes, dominated by strong vibrant sweeps of colour were followed by vertical lines within the colour bands heralding the introduction of geometric forms.
By the 1980â€™s Albrecht progressively shed the constraints of the formal rectangular stretcher. She explored her interest in the symmetry of oppositions such as dark/light, passive/active, repose/movement. The rest of the decadeâ€™s work was a consolidation of gestural painting on semi-circular canvases. The 90â€™s saw the introduction of the oval shape and incorporation of rectangular forms which she exhibited in New York in 2001.
Albrecht produces images that look deceptively easy, but are the climax of many years of practical experience, toil and inspiration. Throughout her long career, Gretchen has maintained what she describes as a â€˜felt response to the worldâ€™ in her canvases. Good painting, in her view, is always of the body as well as the mind.
Gretchen has travelled extensively and exhibited throughout New Zealand, Australia, UK, Europe, and New York and is represented in a large number of private and public collections nationally and internationally.