Christina McPhee 2010-12
site: Krowswork, Oakland, California, October 2012
curator: Jasmine Morehead
SHED CUBED synopsis and technical description
During one year’s time, SHED traces the heliotropic movement of drawings across diurnal passages
of light and darkness in an austere interior of concrete floors and white walls. SHED is ‘shedding’
drawings. The drawings accumulate, re-materialize, and melt away in the space of the shed....
pentimenti and performance aspects of the action of drawing, the sfumato of time-lapse, the
chiarascuro of montage...As an installation work reflects on the materiality of video as a drawing
medium and, in its montage and atmosphere, an obsession with trace and presence. The filming
focusses on the drawings themselves and the effect of transverse light, as the sunlight moves
through the space from early morning onwards... The video footage captures the slow changes of
the light and the rapid changes of the drawing. In post production, the video format becomes a long
strip, rather than the typical rectangle-- a sequencing and serial effect. The footage is compressed up
to a limit of 900 percent. The shed is hermeneutic (pertaining to its own secrets) but the transverse
light inside the shed explodes the intimacy of such a secret space, brings it into the light. Effectively
the light exposes the drawings as a writing process, that iterates line after line in accumulations,
refrains, recollections and recursions. Following the drawings, the video montage sheds time in
layers, in a profusion of moments...the installation recapitulates the shed.
The shed is as tall as it is long, making a vertical volume.
Light travels in transverse paths across the SHEDthrough a row of clerestory openings (lights) and skylights.
I make very large scale drawings using white rolls of watercolor and drawing
papers. The drawings are usually created in a horizontal orientation working from right to left, like writing
without backtracking or extensive editing. When not executed horizontally, the drawings are also created in a
vertical orientation and worked from top to bottom like a scroll. The markings are calligraphic and topologic
and do not represent content. They consider intensities and nodes. I consider depth of field from point to
point moving from the implications of the last move into a new territory. Each drawing gesture generates the
next. The drawings seek congruity at multiple scales, both micro and macro level (as individual mark, and as a
suite of large compositions). Each drawing is created in a short period of time, often in a single eight or ten
hour session. The surfaces are built from various kinds of acrylic and India ink in a limited palette of black,
white, and red. As the drawings develop, a steady camcorder on a tripod shoots HD minitape in 60 minute
takes. The camera is set up so that the action of my own drawing is captured without my figure / body in full
view. The filming focuses on the drawings themselves and the effect of transverse light, as the sunlight moves
through the space from early morning onwards. Depending on the time of year, the angles of the sunlight
passages vary significantly. The video footage captures the slow changes of the light and the rapid changes of
the drawing. The two interact as a site specific performance. In postproduction, the video footage is edited in
layers. The video format becomes a long strip, rather than the typical rectangle. The importance of the strip
lies in the formal iteration of the volumes inside the shed over time.
Like a filmstrip, the video develops a sequencing and serial effect. The montage is layered so that multiple
views of the drawings occur in the same frame. The footage is also compressed from passages in real time, up
to a limit of 900 percent, which observes the unfolding interaction of light and drawing materialization in
compressed intervals. A shed is a barracks, a shelter and it is hermeneutic (pertaining to its own secrets). The
shed is a place of elemental becoming and the drawings develop the space of the shed just as the shed
develops the space of the drawings. Mutually they create a performative condition for video installation as
drawing. The accumulation of layered montage in multiple takes gives rise to a series of videos. These, over
time, accumulate into four sectors responding to the four cardinal directions to the four seasons, as indicated
solely by the shift in solar patterns. Thus the video archive becomes another shed, with four ‘walls’ and a
ceiling and floor, all ‘made’ from drawing the drawings: the video creates drawing as architectural event.
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