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).
Her Double Blind Studies (2012-ongoing) are Rorschach-like gelatin silver prints of sections of her own paintings that have a forensic quality and call into question perception and the creative act itself.
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.
Born in Los Angeles, she lives and works in California.