Christina McPhee ’76

Christina McPhee’s images move from 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 analog and digital works, is a seduction into surface-skidding calligraphies and mark-making.  Lines throw down rope-like bridges, cat’s-cradling figures, or a search for grounding and commons. “One gets the sense that the image conjured up is all at once a particular, individual, material composite (colored ink, graphite, paper, the skills of a hand) and a precarious, temporary, expression of forces for which no adequate, human-readable language exists. The question of drawing’s mobilities is thus a question of expressive sympathy, imitation and belief in some kind of connection or association to other mobilities, however fraught or tentative” (Ina Blom).

Born in Pomona, where her historian father studied at Claremont Graduate University, Christina McPhee lived in Los Angeles as a small child. She moved with her family to rural eastern Nebraska at the age of seven. She returned to southern California on a full Scripps College scholarship, where she studied printmaking with Professor James Fuller. Later she continued on to a BFA in painting and printmaking at Kansas City Art Institute, and was a student of Philip Guston at Boston University for the MFA in painting. Her subsequent career has engaged with abstraction and landscape across media, including video, photomontage, drawing, and painting. Museum collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center for Photography, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and Thresholds New Media Collection, Scotland. Solo museum exhibitions include the American University Museum, Washington, D.C.  and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden. She has participated in many international group exhibitions, notably with documenta 12, Bucharest Biennial 3, and the Museum of Modern Art Medellin. She has taught in the Digital Arts and New Media program at UC-Santa Cruz and at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado. In greater Los Angeles, her work has shown with Bridge Projects LA (“Otherwise/Revival”), Irenic Projects Pasadena, Cerritos College Art Gallery, and the California Museum of Photography.  She is a Ucross Foundation artist fellow.  She is among the Scripps College Lois Langland Alumnae-in-Residence, and lives and works in central coast California. You can find her on Instagram @xtinamcphee