Gretchen Hupfel was
born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1963. She graduated Magna Cum Laude
with a BA from Brown University before going on to earn an MFA from
the University of Delaware in 1993. Hupfel taught at the Kansas
City Art Institute and later at the University of Georgia in Athens.
From 1989 to 2002, her work was shown in
over 30 exhibitions in galleries and alternative spaces from New
York to Atlanta. Her photographs are in collections including those
in the Delaware Art Museum, the High Museum of Art, American Century,
Citibank, Phillip Morris and Sprint. She has been recognized
in Artforum, the New Art Examiner and Art Papers, among other publications.
It has been said that Hupfel made the invisible
visible. Polaroid grids of telecommunication towers connected
to each other with a web of precise, hand drawn lines show that
the air is full of waves of sound bouncing all around and off us
(in a series called Line of Sight);
delicate white grids digitally overlay photographs of otherwise
empty landscapes; an August 2002 sculpture titled The Negative Space
of My Fist a cast of the hollow of her clenched hand - "gives
form to a tenuous grip on reality," as Gretchen would explain.
Gretchen Hupfel was graced with a sly, intelligent
wit and her use of humor and paradox were equally important elements
in fully realizing her profoundly insightful artwork. An in depth
series of black and white photographs of airplanes in seemingly
doomed situations are starkly beautiful and beguiling. Works such
as (pilot error, induced), Touchdown (premature),
and Wind Shear (unforeseeable) tickle us with the intellectual
joking and leave us musing upon the more serious implications. Gretchen
Hupfels art - pointed, poignant, resonate, playful - leaves
us a tiny bit different, perhaps, than we were before.
In 2005-2006, Gretchen was the subject of a major
retrospective at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.
Titled Time Spent, after the name of one of her enigmatic
sculptures, the exhibition surveyed the full scope of the work of
this artist, whose life and work far too soon came to an end,
but who left a legacy of images and ideas that only seem
to become more relevant as time passes.