Christina McPhee’s images move within a matrix of abstraction, shadowing figures and contingent effects. Her work emulates potential forms of life, in various systems and territories, and in real and imagined ecologies. Her dynamic, performative, physical engagement with drawing, in both her analogue and digital works, is a seduction into surface-skidding calligraphic gestures and mark-making. The tactics of living are in subterfuge, like the dazzle ships of camouflage in war. Lines throw down rope-like bridges, cat’s-cradling figures, or a search for grounding and commons. Cached and clustered, fragments take exception to systems. Color sparks disruptions of scale that reveal allusions to biochemical contraventions, migration, grammars, and marine stress. Her work takes on violence, tragi-comic exuberance, and vitality from within a ‘post-natural’ experience of community.
Christina McPhee’s live and recorded drawings animate dense montage within images of fragile marine ecologies and seismic landscapes. “McPhee’s drawing, extended to and infiltrated with digital video, seems to outline a different and stranger project: that of creating as yet unknown material composites by aligning the rapid time-processing of our nervous systems with the emergent natures at actual sites of energy production or extraction” (Ina Blom).
Christina McPhee’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Rhizome Artbase-New Museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and Storefront for Art and Architecture, Thresholds New Media Collection, Scotland, and elsewhere. Solo museum exhibitions include the American University Museum, Washington, D.C., and Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden. She has participated in group exhibitions, notably Documenta 12, Bucharest Biennial 3, Museum of Modern Art Medellin, Bildmuseet Umea, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, California Museum of Photography/Digital Studio, and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London. She was a recipient of a 2012 MAP Fund for Performance in collaboration with Pamela Z for the multimedia performance in video, voice and chamber ensemble, Carbon Song Cycle, which premiered at Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. Forthcoming in 2016: a new monograph on her work with Punctum Books, and a solo exhibition at Cerritos College Art Gallery, Los Angeles.
Born in Los Angeles, she lives and works in California.
Art and Research Interests
Christina McPhee is interested in working with students around processes, and strategies in drawing, painting, photography and moving image. She works as well as a thesis writing coach.Topics of special interest include feminist data visualization, critical approaches to the science and mediated information around climate change, grammars and polysemic mark-making in visual and sonic scores…She combines this research with network-based texts and image-shards, to explore the seduction and violence at play in contemporary aspiration, desire and consumption. McPhee’s dynamic, performative, physical engagement with materials in both her analogue and digital works is a response to a late-capitalist, disembodied, screen-based age. Evidence of the human touch is literally embodied in the works: smearing, tearing, scraping, slicing all tinted with bruise-like purples, blood-like reds, or shit browns. Color enables the unfolding narrative within the work, sparking and pulling the image from the inanimate object that tries to contain it. McPhee uses techniques of multiplicity, doubling, mirroring, shattering, editing, cropping and ghosting to explore vitality and loss. Absence and presence echo simultaneously across her canvasses. Jagged shards vye for position and collide with animate and anime-like elements that together swarm, fold, cascade and crash in compositions that suggest tumbling, swelling and accelerating mass movements. Isolated individual components break free or rejoin and regroup, striving for common ground. McPhee’s videos feature collaborations with sound artists, including Pamela Z, Pauline Oliveros, and Quinn Dougherty. Her photography involves Rorschach-like gelatin silver prints that have a forensic quality and call into question the creative act itself.
drawing and writing, technological sublime, painting, photography, video installation, video,anthropocene, climate change, data visualization, big data, data sonification, third-wave feminism, post-nature, nature, subjectivity, drawing, polysemic, asemic, trans-media, noetic, topologies, topographies, mapping, grammar, grapheme, pre-linguistic, linguistic, feminist, performance, performance theory, political-aesthetic, literature and visual art, illumination, spirituality, text-based, visual text, animation, montage, cinematic, materialism and art, transformation, metonymy, metaphor, alchemy, pharmakon, contemporary new music and visual art, visual poetry, visual music