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: A Commonplace Book

“Let us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible handwriting….here we have copied out fine passages from the classics;…here, most interesting of all, lists of books that have actually been read, as the reader testifies with some youthful vanity by a dash of red ink.”

~ Virginia Woolf, “Hours in a Library”


Christina McPhee’s ‘commonplace book’ draws from a palimpsest of handwritten notes, lists, quotations, bibliographic fragments, and sketches, from an artist whose voracious reading practice is a direct feed into her life and art — all set to a visual and textual design-as-score, as prominent writers on painting, media arts, performance, video installation and poetics engage with her ‘open-work’ practice. Christina McPhee’s images move from within a matrix of abstraction, shadowing figures and contingent effects. The tactics of living are in subterfuge, like the dazzle ships of camouflage in war.

This ‘commonplace book’ develops a view of recent work in collaged paintings, drawings, photomontage and video installation, around themes of environmental transformation and ‘post-natural’ community.

The book includes conversations, essays, interviews and notes by Ina Blom, Phil King, James MacDevitt, Donata Marletta, Melissa Potter, Judith Rodenbeck, Esztar Timár, and Frazer Ward.

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