[-empyre-] bio / Christina McPhee

naxsmash naxsmash at mac.com
Wed Jun 19 04:21:04 EST 2013

hi -empyreans- 
it's nice to be back in touch and thanks, Renate, for suggesting we pitch in our bios.  Here'a a recent highlights bio, see below.  Greatest hits or something.  I tried to write a more personal account than I usually do. 
I'm very glad to hear back via private email if any of you would like more info on my projects.   

very best regards



Christina McPhee is a media and visual artist whose work is involved in the ‘deep ecology’ of topologic mark-making, abstraction, and illumination.  Her work often engages site and territory, integrates scientific data into sonified, time-based and visual images, and reflects on excess and beauty at the edges of architecture and natural science.

Christina McPhee was born in Los Angeles in 1954.  Her family moved to Nebraska when she was seven and she grew up on the edge of a small prairie town,  and taught herself drawing. A voracious reader, she was also influenced by an intense involvement in piano and classical music,  and,  via minimal contact with the media culture of the period, a childhood of making things. She returned to Los Angeles with a full scholarship at  Scripps College, Claremont, then transferred to Kansas City Art Institute to study painting (BFA 1976 valedictorian).  She worked at Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard, then studied at Boston University School for the Arts. She was a student of Philip  Guston during his last two years of teaching, and graduated with the MFA in painting in 1979.  Throughout the eighties she pursued landcape and topologic large scale drawing studies of archeological-architectural studies in the American West. She raised two children in Kansas City, Missouri, taught drawing at the Kansas City Art Institute, and organized exhibitions in the region and mountain west.   In the late nineties she started to do remote performance and video projects using nascent desktop editing software, and from 2002 on become a pioneer in new media arts internationally.  She moved to California to continue work in media  and drawing at remote technological landscapes, involving abstraction and montage around her documentary shots of ecological crisis at energy producing sites.  Her projects on seismic memory and on sonification of carbon sink data were among the first media projects to dwell in a discourse between architectural space, performance,  science and early modernist abstraction. She curated and moderated the Sydney-based -empyre- list serv for digital medi arts and culture from 2003-2008, and was participating editor on behalf of -empyre- when it was invited to contribute and exhibit at Documenta 12 (Halle), Kassel 2007.  She taught for several years in the  new media graduate program at UC Santa Cruz; then left academia to concentrate full time on production.  She shot and edited a series of short films on deepwater life in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill, at the invitation of biologists at the University of Louisiana.  Her newest projects (2013) involve painting and drawing conceptually driven ‘carbon cycle models.’ She  works with layered, linear sequences and formal structures, often interpolating poetic, political, and scientific data within topologic glyphs.   She is based in San Francisco and the central coast of California.

Solo museum exhibitions include American University Museum, Washington, DC and Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden, and Freies Museum, Berlin (video retrospective). Recent group exhibitions include Bucharest Biennial 3, Museum of Modern Art Medellin; Headlands Center for the Arts, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (with Center for Visual Music), and Berkeley Art Museum- Pacific Film Archive. Public collections of her work include New Museum of Contemporary Art-Rhizome Artbase; Whitney Museum of American Art-Artport; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center/Taylor Museum;  Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Thresholds New Media Collection, Scotland; and the United States Department of State Art in Embassies.  She is a MAP Fund for Performance grantee (2012) with Pamela Z for Carbon Song Cycle, a performance work for chamber ensemble, voice, electronics and video (2013), which premiered at Berkeley Art Museum in April 2013.. Other awards and support include Turbulence/NY State Foundation for the Arts with GH Hovagimyan for “Plazaville” (2009) Documenta 12 Magazine Project (travel and participation support) (2007); American Scandinavian Foundation (exhibition support), 2006;  Experimental Television Center, New York (production support);  HUMLab visiting artist residency, Umea Universitat, Sweden (2005);  Lounge|lab residency and exhibtion support, Bauhaus-Universitat, Weimar (2003), and Banff Center for the Arts (residency, Media and Visual Arts, 2000).

Christina McPhee’s time based work on Vimeo including clips from Shed Cubed, Carbon Song Cycle, Tesserae of Venus and Naxsmash projects is accessed at https://vimeo.com/christinamcphee

Her artist’s site, including a catalog raisonnee of works on paper, photomontage and painting, together with writings and reviews is http://christinamcphee.net

Artist’s Resume  // recent highlights 2007 to the present

June 2013


“Carbon Song Cycle,” immersive 12 channel live video installation by Christina McPhee,  in collaboration with Pamela Z (musical performance0,  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, L at TE series, April 2013.

“Thirty Something”, Storefront for Art and Architecture, curated benefit exhibition, Beekman Place, New York, March 2013.

SHED CUBED, 4 channel /Dolby 5.1 sound video installation with related photographs and drawings by Christina McPhee, in Markers:  Christina McPhee and Ryan Chard Smith, KROWSWORK project space, Oakland, California, September 7 – October 13, 2012

De-Mobbing: Language, Structure, Bioform. Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California, January 22-March 4, 2012

Collections III : Works by Women Artists at Thresholds Artspace, Horsecross, Perth, Scotland, 23 October – February 2012

Expanded Abstraction, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 28, 2011 – January 31, 2012

Liquid Assets: Perspectives on Water. Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, California,  October 16 – January 8, 2012

A Delicate Landscape of Crisis, solo retrospective screening of a decade of short films, Freies Museum  Berlin, April 13, 2011

Teorema Drawings, solo exhibition, Cara and Cabezas Contemporary, Kansas City, March 23 to May 7, 2011.

Domains, Parameters, Wanderings. Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, Louisiana, January 8 to February 28, 2011.

La Conchita Paradise, video screening, Cinéphémère in the Tuileries Garden, the 37th edition of FIAC, Paris, October 21- October 24, 2010.

Deep Horizon, video screening,  Hurricane Season,  Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, September 15, 2010.   With films by Robert Flaherty (excerpts from “Louisiana Story”), Courtney Egan and Helen Hill, Pawel Wojtasik, Lisa Johnson, Christina McPhee, Tony Oursler, Ghen Dennis, and Gretchen Skogerson.

Canyon Variation 4. in Hot and Cold: Abstractions from Nature, group exhibition with work by Julie Mehretu, Christina McPhee, Jasper Johns, Suzanne Caporeal,  John Buck, and Alan Gussow, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas CIty, April 20 to October 22, 2010.

La Conchita N=Amour (2008), video installation, Silent City, The Rag Factory,  London, May 7-10, 2010

Tesserae of Venus – Ghostdance (2009), video installation,  Open Space Art Cologne, curated by Heinrich Schmidt,  April  20-23, 2010

Tesserae White Cloud (2010),  invitational screening, Crossroads Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque,  Victoria Theatre, April 20, 2010

SALT, video installation, “Because the Night”, curated by LIVEBOX, Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks Artspace,, Houston, February 6, 2010

Tesserae of Venus, solo exhibition, photomontage and drawings,  Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, October 23 to December 5 , 2009

SALT video installation “Because the Night,” Chapman College – Guggenheim Gallery, curated by LIVEBOX,  Los Angeles, October 19 – November 13, 2009

Screening, Recipe (evacuee cake), short film, VIBA Festival, Buenos Aires,  November 27-29, 2009.

Screening, Seven after Eleven, short film, Cinema by the Bay Festival, Invitational, curated by Sean Uyehara, San Francisco Film Society, Clay Theatre, San Francisco, October 22-25, 2009.

Tesserae of Venus, video installation, ISEA Festival, exhibition, Belfast,  August 23 to September 1, 2009, curated by Kathy Rae Huffman

Plazaville, variable cinema installation remake of Godard’s Alphaville, by GH Hovagimyan and Christina McPhee, produced with Artists Meeting and Turbulence.org commission-NY State Foundation for the Arts, Pace Digital Gallery, New York, April 7 – May 15, 2009.

Recipe (evacuee cake)/Recette-Gâteaux_à_évacués invitational screening, VIDEOFORMES 09, Clermont-Ferrand, March 10-14, 2009

47REDS, drawing installation, in “Twice Upon a Time,” Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna, November 18 2008 – January 10, 2009. Group show with Carla Åhlander, Kaucyila Brooke, Tammy Rae Carland, Carola Dertnig, Desiree Holman, Judith Hopf, Christina McPhee, Susanne Winterling and  Ginger Wolfe-Suarez.

Recipe (Evacuee Cake), video installation, In Transition Russia 2008, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow, -December 2008.

Carrizo Topologies, Bucharest Biennial 2008, curated by Jan-Erik Lindstrom and Johan Solstrom, May-June 2008, Bucharest; and Bildmuseet Umea, Sweden, October-November 2008 (catalog).

Carrizoprime, First Sight Scene, LA Film Forum, Egyptian Theatre, January 27, 2008

La Conchita N=amour, 22 screen, 3 channel video installation, Horsecross. Commission for Threshold Wave, Perth, Scotland, October 2007 – April 2008


Ella Mudie, “The Spectacle of Seismicity,” Leonardo (MIT Press Journals), volume 43, issue 2, April 2010.

Representations of earthquakes in visual art have the potential to function as spectacles (defined as striking or dramatic public displays); this in turn provokes consideration of how viewers construct meaning from such representations. The author examines the work of a number of artists arguably concerned with going beyond spectacular representations in their portrayals of earthquake activity. Particular focus is placed upon performative techniques meant not only to engage audiences with the properties of seismic phenomena but also to stimulate reflection on the complex psychological responses they may trigger, as well as their analogous relationships to conditions of environmental and cultural crisis. Reviews of work by Natalie Jeremijenko, DV Rogers, Christina McPhee, et al. With cover art by Christina McPhee, video still from SALT (2004) .  Abstract and citations.

Melissa Potter, “Interview: Christina McPhee.” http://bombsite.powweb.com/?p=5307 BOMB Magazine,Bomblog, New York. First release online (ongoing) from October 26, 2009.

Sharon Lin Tay, PhD, Women on the Edge:Twelve Political Film Practices. New York: Macmillan/ London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. ISBN 978-0-230-21776-8

Women on the Edge re-envisions women’s cinema as contemporary political practices by exploring theworks of twelve filmmakers: Hollywood cinema (Sofia Coppola), European arthouse fare (Sally Potter, Liv Ullmann), the political documentary (Jill Craigie, Kim Longinotto, Liz Miller), world cinema (Guo Xiaolu, Deepa Mehta), the video essay (Ursula Biemann), as well as independent and multi-platformed works (Lynn Hershmann-Leeson, Christina McPhee and Gisela Sanders Alcántara)..

Leigh Markopoulos, “Iraqi Eye”, SF Camerawork JOURNAL, vol 36, no. 1, 2009.
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