Alexa Kretchmer showcases photography in first senior show of 2018

Alexa+Kretchmer+%2718+smiles+beside+%22Yellow.%22+Friends%2C+family+and+community+members+attended+the+opening+of+the+show+to+see+Kretchmer%27s+work.

Photo credit: Nelly Rouzroch

Alexa Kretchmer ’18 smiles beside “Yellow.” Friends, family and community members attended the opening of the show to see Kretchmer’s work.

Annual senior art shows are one of many springtime traditions that celebrate the end of the year and honor senior achievements before graduation.

This year’s first show, which ran from Mar. 20 to 23 in the upstairs gallery, showcased the photography of Alexa Kretchmer ’18.

Kretchmer, who has been at Archer since seventh grade, put 12 works on display, and her show highlighted her work in portraiture and focused on important people in her life.

Kretchmer originally planned to exhibit only pictures of her sister, [Drew Kretchmer ’20]. When her sister got sick, however, Kretchmer said she knew she would have to “push herself” to take picture of other people. Kretchmer then began to take photographs her friends, which were also featured in the show.

“The whole show is based around portraiture, but each has a different link in the series,” Kretchmer said. “The three photos of my friend Parker, titled ‘Red,’ ‘Green’ and ‘Yellow,’ all have a mixed-media component — painting, cut-outs or sewing.”

Photo by Alexa Kretchmer
“Anne” on display in the upstairs gallery. All three images in the series feature Drew Kretchmer ’20.

Among the showcased work was a series entitled “Harvey,” “Anne” and “Norman.” The images showed Kretchmer’s younger sister with letter-shaped noodles across her face.

“These three pieces are inspired by three people that I lost that are really important to me — my two grandfathers and my best friend’s mom, who was like a second mom to me,” Kretchmer said. “Hidden within the photos are their three names, which is why they’re titled that. On each photo there is the mixed media aspect of cut-outs, which each represent something different.”

The “Harvey” image includes paper-doll cut-outs along the model’s shoulders because Kretchmer’s grandfather, the namesake, was an artist.

“He taught me how to make paper dolls, which is one of my strongest memories of him,” Kretchmer said.

Similarly the “Norman” image, inspired by Kretchmer’s other grandfather, spells out “NRB,” his nickname, in noodles.

“Anne passed away of ovarian cancer and the color behind the cut-outs is ovarian cancer blue,” Kretchmer said.

Photo by Nelly Rouzroch
“Red” and “Green” showcased along the west wall of the upstairs gallery. The images include mixed-media such as paint, cut-outs and sewing.

Much of Kretchmer’s interest in mixed media components is inspired by professional artists.

“An artist that really inspires me is John Baldessari,” Kretchmer said. “He does a lot of mixed media pieces on photographs that aren’t his own. Although I didn’t do that, [his art] inspired me to do things like painting on top of pictures with colors.”

Besides being a photographer, Kretchmer also models professionally, which influences her own images.

“I’m able to be in front of and behind the camera,” Kretchmer said. “I’ve really learned how to direct people because I’ve been directed. I know how I like to be talked to.”

Kretchmer’s gallery show is the first of many, and more senior shows will occur in the coming weeks as the end of the year approaches.