Christina McPhee: Moving Within a Matrix

Upon exploring McPhee’s work, I found that it provides me with a better understanding—at a more micro level—of what FemTech can look like and how it is implemented, rooting itself in flows of time and political perspectives. McPhee uses technology and science as tools to not only create imaginary spaces, but to also reimagine space and time. McPhee creates different worlds are by utilizing a mixed media approach: using video, drawing, painting, data visualization, photography, and performance. Her art has evolved along with technology, studying painting while she was in college then moving into video. One of her past exhibitions, Tesserae of Venus, is inspired by Venus’ carbon filled, inhabitable environment. Because of the carbon, storm like environment, Venus resembles a future state of Earth’s climate change. Her artwork abstracts this forbidden, unknown environment using science behind our changing climate to create an intimate perspective of this landscape. These intimate visualizations stem from the point of view of a life form, or a mammal’s-eye view. The result is a collaboration with video, drawing techniques, and painting to showcase perspectives from these shelter-like spaces of what our “forbidden future” could be.

In another work of art, McPhee utilizes the chemical estrogen to depict, in a painting, the “disintegrating and absorbent chemical IDs for estrogen.” She decided to highlight the chemical because it has been found to save soldiers lives—by accident. Estrogen injections were sent to the military in Iraq as a mistake, but it was found to prolong lives of injured soldiers by injecting it into their wounds. This piece works in conversation with contemporary events, abstracting an event and feminine concept, and facilitating a conversation perhaps about gender and perceptions of gender in the United States. I think this piece highlights the healing power of women, as estrogen is stereotypically associated with women. This power that women have is often over looked, just like the healing ability of estrogen went unnoticed. By exposing this narrative, McPhee shows subconscious, dangerous perceptions about the female body and the capability of women.

McPhee uses various media platforms to create different perspectives of time, illuminating political issues and new worlds. McPhee has been described as moving within “a matrix of abstraction” to imagine multiple forms of life, environments, systems, and settings. I think it is important to note how she is described as an artist “moving” within a matrix because this shows the fluidity of her work. Her art is not necessarily fixed in space or time, instead, McPhee often manipulates and explores these two concepts.

Sources: “McPhee Brings Abstract and Political Undertones to Cerritos Art Gallery” by Briana Velarde, “Christina McPhee” by Melissa Potter for BOMB — Artists in Conversation, Christina McPhee: Transart Institute

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