“Then and Now”; An Art Retrospective Sharing Beauty from Over the Years

Erin Pfeifer, News Writer

The Bluecat Gallery in Wayne is currently showcasing “Then and Now”, an art retrospective created by Glenda Drennen of Sioux City, which shows glimpses of Drennen’s work from the past and present.  

Drennen has been creating art for 30-35 years. “Then and Now” is deemed as a retrospective rather than a collection because the pieces span over a large range of years, reflecting the differences in her patterns and approaches throughout. For example, Drennen said that she used to paint realistically and more controlled, but now she has moved more into the world of abstracts in her work.  

The pieces in this retrospective use a variety of different media, including watercolor, acrylic, mixed media and a style called acrylic skin. Carolyn Albracht, Wayne State professor and owner of the Bluecat Gallery, said that the acrylic skin approach consists of letting thick sections of acrylic paint dry, breaking it into pieces and placing them together in patterns and designs.  

Albracht said that a few of her favorite pieces in the retrospective include “Who’s Driving?,” “Three Sheds in the Grove,” “Upward Bound,” and “Tea for One.” “I just really enjoy the whimsical nature of Glenda’s work, the bright colors, it resonates with the kind of work that I complete,” Albracht said. In an interview with Drennen, Drennen shared some insight about the creation of “Tea for One”, which is the first part of a 3-piece set that she created. Drennen said that “Tea for One” was made using a strategy in which she wet the paper, poured premixed paint on top of it and quickly placed a variety of grids on the paper. These grids included anything she could find, and she added some scribbles where she felt necessary. Drennen also said that all three pieces in this set, “Tea for One,” “Tea for Two,” and “Tea for Three,” use the same strategy and have the same textures and colors but depict much difference in the figures shown.  

Before entering the world of art, Drennen received a bachelor’s degree in music education, and taught public school music. However, Drennen said that she sees a great resemblance in all art forms, such as music, visual art and literature. Over the span of her art career, she has received a variety of different honors, such as receiving a position of signature membership in both the Missouri and Iowa Watercolor Honor Societies. Drennen will be visiting the Bluecat Gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 4:30 p.m. to speak to students and the public about her body of work.  

The pieces of “Then and Now” will be on display and on sale at the Bluecat Gallery through October. Gallery hours are Fridays from 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. “It’s just a really fun exhibit,” Albracht said. “I hope a lot of people come in and check it out, because it’s a nice breather for the soul.”