Gretchen Scherer

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What is my work about?

My paintings are the direct visualization of the way I see the world: the blending of interior spaces that exist (either in the past or in our minds) and the way those visualizations can be so mysterious, full and empty all at the same time. I make small oil paintings that are very detailed and meant to be experienced by one person at a time. I hope to make a connection with the viewer that draws them in and perhaps reminds them of their own interior life.

 

Artist Statement

I often think about the way I imagine spaces before I see them and how my ideas differ vastly from the way those spaces actually appear. It’s these places we create in our minds that inform my paintings. I am interested in the way one can automatically generate these images from just a few verbal cues—are they pieced together from distant memories or is it something more obscure?

I begin the painting process by collaging together photographs from old books on the history of interiors, then making paintings based on those collages. I have found the images from the books resonate with me even though I have never experienced them in real life. I am drawn to certain interiors and ways of arranging the composition. The images I use to collage are mostly from homes in the Victorian era. These pictures hold a fascination for me and cause me to wonder if there is something lurking under the surface. As I’m collaging I imagine the people that lived in those spaces; I begin to catch glimpses of their former lives. It seems the difference between the real and the imagined is quite tenuous.

From a young age I have questioned this tenuous relationship, partly because my mother told my three sisters and I that our house was haunted. I noticed how fear dramatically shifts one’s perception of spaces. Some of these homes have been used as examples of the concept horror vacui, or the fear of empty space, which is a type of decorating that fills up every possible surface. This type of filling up, instead of diminishing the emptiness, seems to call attention to it. In my paintings I try to make that emptiness visible.

When I first began this body of work, the paintings were in black and white. I found that the limited palette reminds me of the past—I imagine it’s a lost world that we can’t quite get access to. Grey can be mysterious and speaks about something that was once alive and is now dying. I am slowly starting to introduce color, which is the part of the image where things from the past come to life again for a brief moment in the mind’s eye. It is also a way to talk about the two worlds that are happening at once. Sometimes it feels as if I am stuck on this side of things—that there may be another unseen world that we are all also a part of and can make visible through looking at and making paintings.

 

Education
2006 MFA Combined Media, Hunter College
2003 BFA Studio Arts, The University of Illinois at Chicago
1997-98 The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

 

Solo and Two Person Exhibitions
2015
Armin Volckers, Gretchen Scherer, Galerie Lake, Oldenburg, Germany, Two Person Show

2012

On the Way Home, The Active Space, New York, Solo Show

 

Selected Group Exhibitions
2015
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, Firework Gallery, New York

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Evening Hours, New York

Fractured Atlas, Storefront Ten Eyck, New York

2014

Not a Force But a Curvature, Novella Gallery, New York

2013

Governors Island Art Fair, Governors Island, New York

2012

It’s Hard to Leave When You Can’t Find the Door, LaMontagne Gallery, Boston

2011

Governors Island Art Fair, Governors Island, New York

Tide Pool, Sarah Meltzer Gallery/Projects, New York

 

2010

Second Story, Pepin Moore Gallery, Los Angeles

Governors Island Art Fair, Governors Island, New York

2009

Everybody, Envoy Gallery, New York

2007

With Teeth, Priska C. Juschka Gallery, New York

2005

Greater Brooklyn, CRG Gallery, New York

2004

Daydreaming, Slight Alienation, Cruel Kindness and Detached Sentimentality,

Joymore Gallery, New York

 

2003

Plastic Fantastic, 1926 Gallery, Chicago

 

Prizes and Awards

2005

Graf Travel Grant, Berlin, Hunter College

2003

School Faculty Prize in fine art, University of Illinois at Chicago

2002

John E. Walley Memorial Scholarship, University of Illinois at Chicago

Talent Tuition Waiver, University of Illinois at Chicago

John Richardson Sr. Award in painting, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Residencies and Fellowships

2015

Vermont Studio Center Residency

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship

2013

Governors Island Art Fair Residency

2011

Governors Island Art Fair Residency

2006

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

Skowhegan Endowment for Scholarship Fellowship

 

Bibliography

2013

ArtFCity, “Why You Should Go to Governors Island Art Fair,” September 2013 Gabriela Vainsencher

 

2009

XLR8R Magazine, “New York State of Mind: Seven Gotham City

Visual Artists on the Rise for 2010,” February 16, 2010 Vivian Host

2007

Whistle, curated by Sarah Cain, published by San Francisco Museum of Art, March 2007

2005

The New York Times, “Greater Brooklyn,” July 8, 2005 Roberta Smith

 

Teaching

2013-present The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lead Artist Teacher

2008-2013 The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Assistant Artist Teacher