Medrie MacPhee was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and has resided in New York City since 1976. She received a B.F.A. from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
MacPhee’s previous work can be divided into distinct bodies such as The Industrial Series, The Floating World, Future Species or Abandoned Camps. Architecture served as metaphor in describing a psychological and historical response to crisis and repair. Her visual representations were built on construction, momentum, collapse and renewal — adding up to “a distinct sensation of being up against an unnamable reality.” [Christina Kee, artcritical.com July 6, 2010]
More recently, her work has gone through a substantial shift. The use of ordinary materials — clothing, rugs and fabric — collaged to the paintings, and the reduction of recognizable architecture has changed the conversation. Although the paintings are non-depictive, the identifiable “real” things in combination with the painted surfaces have created something fresh and elusive.
MacPhee relates her painted structures, collaged elements and uses of large flat acrylic transfers to the architecture of language. An arena where the “real” doesn’t overwhelm the imagined and verbal/visual language is malleable. The pauses and gaps, the symbiotic relationship between the present and absent, the subterranean level of feeling and instinct that lies under words, and the force of their undertow are reflected in the new works.
Her work has been exhibited in over thirty solo and seventy group exhibitions, in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. MacPhee is represented in various private and public collections in the U.S., Canada and Europe, including: the National Gallery of Canada; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Edmonton Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; and the Asheville Art Museum, NC.
MacPhee is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Grants, the Elizabeth Greenshields Award, and Canada Council Established-Artist Grants. She was a resident at the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the American Academy in Rome, and Flying Horse Editions, Orlando, Florida, which produced a limited edition of her prints. She has received a public art commission from Cadillac Fairview to execute a major painting for the Main Tower of the Mies van der Rohe TD Center in Toronto for 2015.
MacPhee is currently the Sherri Burt Hennessey Artist-In-Residence at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.