Nocturne (nomadic geometries II); Gretchen Albrecht; 1992; 1992/18


Nocturne (nomadic geometries II)

About this object

The title of this painting gives homage to Octavio Paz's poem Nocturno de San Idlefonso, where the poet recalls observing carnival fireworks at night from a window: 'Momentary confederations of fire, nomadic geometries, errant numbers. From yellow to green to red, the spiral unwinds'. Since 1980 Gretchen Albrecht has created both oval and hemispherical paintings which use the emblematic potential of colour to bring to mind a visual environment. Movement and stillness co-exist in this painting and invite a viewer's eye to wander over the encircling surfaces, delighting in the sensations of a mysterious, whirling vortex. The canvas was placed on the floor so that the artist could move around it, applying its many layers of acrylic paint. After pouring and sponging these washes, Albrecht used oil-paint to overlay three rectangular forms which she describes as '"nomadic", in that although they shift their position from painting to painting, they perform the same task in each painting, that is, they "hold" or "anchor" the movement within the space of painting . . . It is an attempt to provide calmness and give order to the chaos of activity, by creating an equilibrium and balance and momentary harmony in that painted world'. By charting the night sky as an atmosphere suffused with colour, Gretchen Albrecht confirms her belief that 'without landscape the abstraction has no meaning'. (from The Guide, 2001)


Gretchen Albrecht

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

acrylic and oil on canvas


1540 x 2445mm

Subject and Association Description

fireworks, ovals, abstraction

Credit Line

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, gift of the Patrons of the Gallery, 1992

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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