The principle behind Isabel Albrecht’s drawings and paintings is simple yet results in a surprising and diverse oeuvre. Persistently formal, elaborate and comprehensively designed, her works don’t aim for a purely aesthetic effect and are neither limited to a mere systematic approach. The connecting element is the line, which can be considered the fundamental postulate determining the creative process. However, the underlying rigorous organizational structure contrasts distinctly from the actual orchestration of subtle shifts of lines and it is this tension between planning, execution and implementation that directs the work’s breadth of expression. Individually applied and executed in ink, graphite, paint or watercolour, the lines vary in thickness, application and number. Horizontal and vertical patterns in descending or ascending colour progressions, from dark grey to light grey, green, red and blue, the resulting textures rank from minimal and delicate to dense and flickering, from clearly distinguished lines to very fine structures where one line passes into another without transition.
Albrecht generally draws her lines freehand, consciously introducing a moment of chance and irregularity, which comes into play when allowing human fallibility: aborted lines that witness the tiredness of the artist’s hand, lighter and darker areas depending on how firm the pencil or brush is moved over the paper or canvas. Whilst the aspired patterns are the skeleton that organize the whole composition, it is the small imperfections, displacements and colour gradients that cause movement within the picture surface and result in rhythmical shifts.
Despite Albrecht’s curiosity in various qualities of rhythm and movement and her openness towards failure, the drawings and paintings follow clearly defined criteria within a pre-established system. As a result of the artist’s fascination with numerology and structure, series, grids and repetition, the dimensions of the canvas or paper are determined and allow for accurate planning. Colour for that matter becomes all the more important, as it supports the works’ idiosyncrasy and is specifically applied to provoke feelings that might contrast the rational planning.
Due to their abstract nature and the subordination to structure and a minimalist vocabulary Albrecht’s works are sought to engage rather than merely inform, and so inevitably, the viewer is invited to react emotionally. The works are intimate and discreet yet distanced and almost philosophical at the same time. We are faced with an expanded space of delicate structures and calm compositions that allow us to get lost within.