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Nictitate / Nancy Anne McPhee

Friday, April 17, 2015 to Friday, May 22, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, April 17th, 7 - 10 PM

Forest City Gallery is pleased to present Nictitate, an exhibition by Nancy Anne McPhee (Hamilton, ON). McPhee’s installations and drawings utilize conflicting stripes, zig-zags and imagery to confuse and entice, acting as intermediaries between the beautiful and monstrous, the uncomfortable and the uncommon. Concerned with perspective, ocean narratives, sheen and the barely visible, these works draw spaces around and through bodies.

About Nictitate:

Nancy Anne McPhee’s work functions as an axis where knowledge, nature, and gender intersect. McPhee looks for the flicker of hazy perception, the subtle non-mark that appears only after a long look, the weight of depth, the pleasure of an optical trick, and the sense of bodies absent. Exploring methodologies that trouble the viewer’s visual field and prompt reconsiderations of the subject matter, McPhee is primarily concerned with lines and the perspective of the viewer. The title Nictitate describes something that winks. The work in this exhibition use stripes, pattern, illusion and sheen to create an experiential situation for the viewer where the optical field is enveloping and active.

Untitled (crab and thing) is monstrous in scale. Stripes create a visual effect that can appear as movement or a kind of buzz, placing the viewer in the midst of an actuated and out of proportion field. When seen from the central position the viewer’s entire visual field will be filled, on one side with a Jules Vernian crab, and on the other with the maw of a deep sea fish. The effect of describing these animals through stripes is a sense of limbs and scale without specifics, and a flicker that can seem like a twitch of movement.

Drawings from the series Adumbrate (2011) use the sheen of gold gilding to create images that are pools of light, or where the pattern is determined by shadow. Like Untitled (crab and thing) these works also have quiet elements of the monstrous, and an eerie sense of depth. The drawings illustrate the line of the horizon in Adumbrate 1 where an embossed whale tail meets a gold field that acts as the surface of the water. The entirely gold drawing Adumbrate 5 (after Else Bostelmann) is of a species of fish seen during the first half mile submarine dive by William Beebe in 1934, and never seen again. These mediums require active viewing of unstable subject matter. This work asserts planes of differentiation and in/visibility through notions of line thematically, metaphorically and as process.

About the Artist:

Nancy Anne McPhee is a textile installation artist originally from Alberta and now based in Hamilton, ON. McPhee works with themes of knowledge, gender and biological bodies in large-scale drawings, silk trapunto quilt installations and theatrical performances. She has exhibited internationally in commercial galleries, artist run centres and public theatres, recently at Connexion Gallery (Fredericton, NB), Lausanne to Beijing: 8th International Fiber Art Biennale in China, and curated Functional Buildings: Andrea Carvalho, Dan Gibbons and Kip Jones at Harcourt House (Edmonton, AB). McPhee has worked as an instructor at Concordia University and in the extended studies program at NSCAD University, was a member of the Dukes of Drag queer performance troupe in Montréal, and is currently on the board of directors of Hamilton Artists Inc.


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