Gretchen Scherer, a distinguished artist, holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MFA from Hunter College. Currently residing in Brooklyn, she has garnered recognition through a Graf travel grant to Berlin, and her artistic pursuits have led her to prestigious institutions like the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Vermont Studio Center Residency. Represented by Monya Rowe Gallery, Scherer’s journey is marked by a commitment to capturing the essence of historical spaces worldwide.
Gretchen Scherer’s Artistic Vision
In her evocative artworks, Gretchen Scherer invites audiences to traverse the corridors of galleries, museums, and iconic homes across the globe. Her distinctive touch immortalizes the majestic halls of the Borghese Gallery in Rome and the opulent dressing room of Burghley House in Stamford. Noteworthy is Scherer’s meticulous selection of spaces adorned with paintings and sculptures, where she skillfully intertwines historical locations with their authentic artworks.
Gretchen Scherer’s artistic prowess, honed in Brooklyn, shines through her adept use of oil and acrylic paints. Focused initially on real European locations, she draws inspiration from architectural nuances and the stories embedded in objects that reveal the identities of past inhabitants. Approximately a decade ago, a gift of a genre history book sparked Scherer’s interest in decorative styles predating 20th-century modernism. She professes, “I love references to nature and all the embellishments. These old places feel very alien to the spaces we live in now; they truly seem like another world.”
The Confluence of the Past, Present, and Future
Scherer’s artworks serve as portals where the past, present, and future coalesce without constraints. Transporting viewers into profound intervals between dream-like states and concrete reality, she brings forth paintings where the present and the past converge through a rare interplay of ideas and practices. Her works, from dressing rooms to museums, are an ode to dramatic interiors, particularly those of antiquated European homes, estates, and art museums. Describing herself as a medium, she delivers messages from an ancient world into our modern space.
Engaging with Scherer’s compelling artworks reveals more than their initial shimmer of elegance – it unveils a sense of mystery. Miniature representations of monumental buildings absorb viewers into the conundrums of time, where the imaginary faces of former inhabitants flash before the mind’s eye. In the absence of human presence, the interiors become suffused with imaginary activity and conversations, turning the two-dimensional works into an eerie and otherworldly experience.
Gretchen Scherer’s Artistic Process
Scherer delves into her creative process, emphasizing the importance of imagination. She envisions the paintings, feeling the way things could be, and through sketching and collaging, she creates studies using sources from the internet and books. She adds layers of meaning by incorporating elements like paintings, furniture, and architectural details from her collection. The end result is akin to historical fiction—starting with something real but inventing along the way, giving her works a deeper meaning.
For Scherer, art and spirituality are interconnected. She notes uncanny coincidences between situations in her paintings and the actual backstories of the original spaces. Recollecting her first solo exhibition during the early days of the pandemic, she reflects on the ominous emptiness depicted in her artworks, aiming to bring spaces to life with art on the wall, sculptures, and ephemeral objects.
When questioned about her inspiration for exploring historical edifices, Scherer reveals an inherent draw to nature and ornamentation. Critiquing modernism for its flattening of forms and linear designs, she expresses a love for details, aiming to step into another world, one she doesn’t quite understand. This deep spiritual connection with past times serves as the driving force behind her artistic exploration of history and architecture.