The eight majestic hemispheres of Gretchen Albrecht’s Eight Hours are her response to one of the oldest sequences of praise in the Christian tradition – the eight canonical hours of the Divine Office which have been sung throughout the day and night in monasteries since the ninth century. Albrecht has taken the name of each hour – Vigils, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline – and painted an antiphonal response to each. St Augustine called The Hours, ‘the now that does not pass away,’ and to see Albrecht’s Eight Hours calling and responding to one another is to experience something of Augustine’s perpetual present.
These are undivided hemispheres over which her luminous colours rise and fall, and within which seams of mysterious shadowing draw us to her sense of the ineffable. Albrecht says of Eight Hours, ‘They celebrate the day, the seasons, the year. The hours of day into night are something that everyone experiences – we all live them. Their religious underpinning provides a perfect way for me to gather in metaphor, and the physical and emotional experience of being a painter here.’
– Catharina van Bohemen